Jo Trizila
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It’s that time of year again, when the weather warms up and schools close temporarily so that families can enjoy quality time together. While spring break traditionally offers children a week long reprieve from hitting the books, it should also bring heightened concern and awareness of potential risks.

Those who make child safety a priority during spring break can take solace in knowing that being prepared and educated on risk-aversive activities is a sound investment.

Being prepared and aware of common and hazardous risks can make the difference between children enjoying the outdoors or an unfortunate visit to a local emergency room.

Either injury or illness can happen at any moment, but there are ways parents can reduce the chances of them occurring. Below are seven helpful tips from Legacy ER & Urgent Care, a hybrid health care facility with locations in Allen, Coppell, Frisco, Keller, McKinney and North Richland Hills, on how to keep your kids both illness and injury free this spring break.

  1. Supervise your child: Whether a child is jumping on a trampoline, swimming, riding a bike or playing with other children, parents should monitor their kids and be on the lookout for any potential risks that come with outdoor activity. Create guidelines and boundaries for your kids and enforce them throughout the day.                                                                                  
  2. Check outdoor equipment: In advance of playtime, check surfaces under playground equipment to make sure they are safe, soft and well-maintained. According to the CDC, more injuries on public playgrounds occur on climbing structures than any other equipment. At home, swing sets are responsible for most injuries.                                                                              
  3. Helmets are necessary: When the activity calls for it, make sure your children wear helmets. This includes outdoor activities such as riding a bike or scooter, skateboarding or rollerblading. Helmets can be lifesaving and help protect a child from a more serious injury.                                                                                                                                                                     
  4. Wash those hands: Many surfaces such as playground equipment can be a breeding ground for illness-causing germs. Use an anti-bacterial solution on hands when playtime is over.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  5. Monitor sun exposure: Schedule outdoor activities to avoid the sun’s peak hours, which generally occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. For maximum protection, apply sunscreen (SPF 15) on a child at least 30 minutes before they go outdoors. This will help to prevent sunburn now and skin cancer later in life.                                                                                         
  6. Drink water: Make sure children are well-hydrated! Don’t wait until they say they’re thirsty before offering fluids. At this point, they may already be dehydrated, so be sure to provide them with plenty of fluids before, during and after outdoor activities.                                                                                                                                                                      
  7. Watch for insects: Apply insect repellent if children spend time near areas with biting insects. Do not use repellent with more than 30 percent DEET. When possible, have them wear protective clothing (long sleeves, long pants).
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