The summertime is a time we anxiously wait for as children. School is out for a couple of months, which means playgrounds, pools and plenty of fun outdoor activities! For parents, this should mean taking precautions to reduce the burn risks among children that come along with the season. After all, no one wants his or her summer memories to take place in an emergency room.
Sunburns and children
While the beach is a popular vacation spot, most sun damage happens from exposure during day-to-day activities. Continued lengthy exposure over time presents a risk for premature skin aging and cancer. Furthermore, overexposure to sunlight before the age of 18 is most damaging to the skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all children wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Make sure the sunscreen is broad spectrum, meaning it will protect against both UVA and UVB ray. If the kids are going to be in water or sweating, make sure the sunscreen is labeled water-resistant. Keep in mind that even on cloudy, cool or overcast days, UV rays reach the earth and can cause unexpected sunburn and skin damage.
Tips to protect your child from a sunburn
- Apply sunscreen with a high SPF to faces and bodies 20-minutes before heading outside, even on cloudy days. Reapply every one to two hours when outdoors.
- Seek some shade. Limit direct exposure your children are getting from playing outdoors. Bring an umbrella or a tent to the beach, park, or pool.
- Take babies and children inside at the first site of red skin.
- Keep infants under six months of age completely out of the sun because they have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin, which makes their skin burn easily.
- If your baby must be in the sun, make sure you dress him or her in protective clothing including hats with wide brims that shadow the face.
- Why not be a role model? Always use sunscreen, wear sunglasses and limit your time in the sun. Not only will you be teaching your kids, but you will also reduce your risk of sun damage.
Playground burn risks
For an energetic toddler, there is nothing more exciting than the freedom of running around a play area, sliding down the “big” slide and going higher and higher while swinging on the swings. While your little one will be carefree and full of giggles, it is important for an adult to understand that the playground equipment poses serious burn risks among children.
When scoping out playgrounds, choose one that is shaded. Playground slides have recorded temperatures as high as 160 degrees. This is hot enough to cause first, second and in some cases third-degree burns. Check the playground’s equipment including the fire poles and monkey bars temperature with the back of your hand before letting your kiddo use it.
In addition to dangerously hot playground equipment, the black rubber mats found on some playground bases absorb a great amount of heat due to their dark pigment. Make sure your child wears shoes that cannot fall off while on the playground. This will help your child avoid experiencing painful burns from stepping on the hot mats or ground.
Campfires, barbecues and kid-free zones
Backyard barbecues by day and eating s’mores around a campfire or fire pit by night are a must on the list of fun summertime activities. You do not want these precious moments to be ruined with a burn injury. If a child who comes too close to an open flame risks severe burn injuries. For example, a child’s clothes may ignite and lead to extensive burns on his or her body.
Establish a kid-free zone 10 feet away from any charcoal or propane grill or ground level campfire. Many have made the mistake of letting their guard down once the fire has been out. If a child stumbles upon the searing hot ashes, they will likely experience extreme and uncomfortable pain. Explain and discuss the dangers and seriousness of fires at an early age.
Fireworks + children = bad idea
Fireworks can cause catastrophic burn injuries to the most important parts of your body, your face, hands, and eyes. Fireworks are known to cause burns, amputations and even death. One of the most common firework injuries occurs when a firework appears unlit and someone picks it up. The firework then explodes, blowing off the fingers and burning the eyes and face. Children are especially vulnerable to permanent loss due to the small size of their hands and fingers. Sparklers, a popular firework among children, gets hotter than 1200 degrees and is most likely to cause injuries to young children as they hold the firecracker and swing it back and forth. Another dangerous firework is bottle rockets. There have been several cases involving parents and children who have underestimated the predictability of these reckless firecrackers. Bottle rockets may lead to life-changing eye injuries including permanent blindness.
The most effective way to avoid a firework burn injury is to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Don’t use fireworks at home, instead enjoy public firework displays with your family. Teach children that fireworks are NOT toys and that they should never pick up or touch any fireworks. It is not safe to touch fireworks that have been ignited but failed to explode either because they may still be active.
Hidden burn risks in a garden hose
A garden hose exposed to direct sunlight can heat the water inside the hose (not flowing) enough to cause scald burns. In fact, a nine-month-old baby suffered second-degree burns on 30 percent of his body after his mother accidentally sprayed him when turning on a hose heated by the sun. Before filling up the kiddie pool or spraying your children with the hose, let the water from the hose flow for a few minutes, so it cools off.
Seeking legal guidance
Injuries can be terrifying to a child. Often, the child is too young to understand what is going on and they cannot communicate what they are feeling. Burn injuries cause severe pain and discomfort, especially in small children. If your child has suffered burn injuries caused by someone else, your child may be entitled to compensation. Recoverable damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
As the parent, you may also be entitled to compensation if your child’s injuries caused you to lose wages due to missed time from work.
For the best chance at fair compensation, contact an experienced Child Injury Lawyer who will be able to navigate the legal system on your child’s behalf. You don’t want to make the mistake of trying to file a claim on your own. Insurance companies will try to get you to settle for far less than what your child deserves. However, a child injury attorney from The Carlson Law Firm will fight for you and your child to get justice.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
If your child suffered burn injuries due to the negligence of another, it is in your best interest to seek the guidance of a qualified attorney at The Carlson Law Firm. We have been representing child injury victims for over 40 years and have the tools and resources necessary to help hold the responsible party accountable. Let us help you by gathering paperwork and evidence along with dealing with the insurance company while you take the time needed to care for your little one as he or she recovers. Contact us today for a free consultation. We care, we can help.