Log in
Log in

Summer Safety Tips from a Pediatric Emergency Physician

27 Jun 2023 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

It’s that time of year again: school’s out, sun’s out, and the kids are ready for some outdoor fun! Calendars are filling up with play dates, birthday parties, and other events. On top of making sure our kids are having fun, we want to make sure they are staying safe. Read on for some summer safety tips from Shyam Sivasankar, MD, a Pediatric Emergency doctor.

What are common reasons for kids to visit the Emergency Department in the summertime?

Most of the time it is going to be heat or injury related. To prevent heat-related illnesses: don't leave your kid in the car, stay hydrated, apply and reapply sunscreen (proper sun protection is a must!), and remember to take breaks in the shade or in air-conditioning. 

It’s important to always wear a helmet when on a bike or scooter, even if it is a "short" ride. We see lots of cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and head injuries. People often underestimate the strength of our skulls - although head injuries may seem intense, I would talk to your on-call pediatrician or nurse advice line before coming to the ED for head injuries. 

Sometimes it will be water-related (i.e. swimming or lake-related injury) - if there is any concern for drowning or near drowning, you need to call 911. If there is some coughing or difficulty breathing that persists beyond the potential swallowed water, come to the ED for an evaluation. 

What types of issues should I bring my kid into the Emergency Department for, versus Urgent Care or getting a rapid appointment with my pediatrician?

Head injuries with vomiting need to come to the ED.

Small cuts and bruises can be seen in urgent care. Falls can usually be seen at urgent care. 

Larger cuts or lacerations, swelling of joints, or obvious deformities should go to the ED. Some urgent care centers have x-ray machines, but some will end up still being sent to the ED, and sometimes that's hard to predict. 

What’s the most important thing parents can do to keep kids safe at the pool?

Especially when water is involved, an adult must be constantly supervising and paying attention. As a general rule, assign one adult to be a photographer and everyone else should put their phones away or indoors to avoid distractions. Drownings happen in an instant, so it is best to be vigilant. All parents should also consider taking a first aid/CPR class. 

If I’m going on a hike with my kids, what would be some good things to bring in a first aid kit?

I love this question - it's a good one. I have bandaids, hydrocortisone, triple antibiotic cream, kid-safe insect repellent, sunscreen, and water. 


Shyam Sivasankar is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) physician who splits his time between Palo Alto, California and Austin, Texas. He attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, followed by residency at Stanford University. Since completing his fellowship at Dell Children’s Medical Center, he practices as an EM physician at Stanford Healthcare and St. David’s Medical Center. 

The San Mateo Parents Club has a variety of fun events throughout the summer. Check out our Events page, and RSVP to an event for some summer fun!

SMPC Advertiser

SMPC Advertiser

SMPC Advertiser

SMPC Advertiser

SMPC Advertiser

Not a member yet?

  • Club benefits extend to the whole family!
  • Membership includes playgroups, events, and more!
  • Join a community of parents who offer friendship, support and advice
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software