Celebrating a kid-safe Memorial Day

Posted By Katie Friedman, MD
May 25, 2017

Memorial Day is a great celebration of those who died serving our country—and also marks the beginning of summer. Everyone is breaking out their BBQs, bathing suits, and bicycles. Although Memorial Day is meant to be fun and relaxing, it can easily turn into a very stressful and dangerous situation, with an increase in injuries such as bruises, broken bones, and food-related illnesses.

More importantly, there is also an increase in very serious and sometimes deadly injuries, such as drownings, head injuries, and serious burns. It is important that you take the necessary precautions to ensure your child remains healthy and safe during your Memorial Day celebration. Here are some of my recommended tips for keeping your kids safe this holiday:

  • The grill is for the dads, not for children. People underestimate not only how dangerous a grill can be but also how dangerous the tools required to grill can be. It is imperative that children and pets are kept far away from the grill area at all times. Declare a 4-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill. Make sure the children’s table is at a safe distance from cooking areas, and that there are no toys or activities occurring in close proximity to the grill.  The accessories used to cook, such as spatulas, food thermometers, tongs, and grill forks, can cause deep cuts requiring stitches, and serious burns if hot off the grill. Please keep these items, along with any gas, oil, charcoal, lighters, or lighter fluid, out of the reach of children. Hanging these accessories on the BBQ or placing them on a side table provides easy access and may result in serious injury.
  • Helmets are a must. Children can’t wait to get out their bikes, scooters, and skateboards! For children living in the north, many haven’t been on a bicycle for an extended period of time. No child wants to wear a helmet, but I promise you it saves lives. It is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your child is correctly wearing a helmet. Head injuries are commonly caused by biking accidents and can result in very serious injury or even death. Never underestimate the importance of a helmet. Hoverboards are one of the most dangerous toys on the market today. Please keep this in mind.
  • Trampolines and bounce houses are dangerous. Every parent loves a good bounce house. It is easy and always a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, they can result in serious injuries, sometimes even requiring surgery. If you are going to have a bounce house at your BBQ, please make sure to maximize trampoline and bounce house safety by making sure the children are supervised at all times and limiting the number of children using them at one time.
  • Never underestimate the danger of a pool. It is important to understand that no matter how well your child can swim, he or she can panic and forget their skills within seconds. Never underestimate the danger of pools, especially if there are a lot of children swimming at the same time. Drowning can be an extremely difficult thing to spot and children get overlooked when the pool is congested with people. If you are hosting a Memorial Day celebration and swimming is involved, I highly suggest hiring a lifeguard to supervise the pool. A great tip is to go to your local pool and ask about hiring a lifeguard. Most of the time, they aren’t that expensive and trust me it is worth every penny. Please remember any swimming child that is under the age of 4 must be within arms length of an adult at all times.
  • Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock! This should be every parents #1 priority when celebrating the holiday outside. UVA and UVB rays not only cause cancer, but sunburns are horribly painful and uncomfortable. Although sunblocks and sticks are imperative, physical barriers such as SPF clothing, umbrellas, and shade are equally as important. Please remember that children under the age of 6 months cannot wear sunblock, so if you are planning on spending the holiday outside with your baby, you must have shade. I love the portable pop-up cabana. It is perfect for your child’s nap and easy to carry and setup! Make sure to apply sunblock 15-30 minutes before getting to the beach and reapply every 45 minutes – 1 hour.

About Katie Friedman, MD

Dr. Katie Friedman is a board-certified pediatrician, wife, mother of two, and a sister to my three siblings. Along with my sisters (Alison, a veterinarian, and Carrie, a fashion stylist), I am a co-founder of Forever Freckled (www.foreverfreckled.com), a website dedicated to helping people with pets, children, and everyday lifestyle.  It has been an incredible journey turning my passion for children into a career, and nothing brings me more joy than to help children and their parents with wellness and healthy living.  For wellness and health tips for children, pets, and other lifestyle advice, please follow our journey on www.foreverfreckled.com.

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