Preparing for Summer (Mis-) Adventure
Time was that my family took camping expeditions to the national parks, and we could have pillow fights in the way-way-back of the station wagon. Time was that my hair would wave and flutter in time with the streamers on my bike handles. Time was that mothers would cuddle their babies in cars. Times have changed.
Last month I attended a pediatric trauma conference, and the big take-home message was prevention. Per the American Heart Association, injuries are the leading cause of death in children older than 6 months. In Los Angeles county alone, pediatric injury-related deaths outnumber deaths in all other categories … combined.
In pediatrics, we have two seasons. Winter is the busy season; RSV, pneumonias, ARDS … in short, any manifestation of respiratory illness you can think of. We all tend to do a bit of overtime, and it helps with the endemic seasonal spending.
Summer, however, is another ballgame entirely. Not meaning any disrespect, but I call it the bipolar season. Things can be moving along swimmingly: low census days, managers giving nurses days off, relaxed atmospheres, etc. However, anytime that children have lots of free time is a time for a pediatric ICU nurse to worry. Kids with lots of free time play, which I’m all for, I just object when they’re not properly supervised or protected. I know I’m probably preaching to the choir, but these things bear repetition. Seat belts for everyone. Appropriately sized and secured car seats for children less than 6 years of age or 60 lbs. Children seated in the back seat. Helmets when riding bikes or skate boarding. Life vests when playing water sports or on water machinery. And supervision, which I just can’t stress enough.
And lastly, I’d like to put in a plug for getting CPR certified. It takes a day, and could help you save a life, especially one precious to you. Courses are available all across the nation. I’m sure there are many sites to locate a class near you, but I’ll just list those of the American Red Cross, and the American Heart Association.
Thanks for listening, and have a fantastic summer!