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!


Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is

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6 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Thanks for the good reminders, Dora. Now that baby is coming in less than a month, I need to start being aware of these things more.

  2. Deborah says:

    I was just thinking about getting recertified in CPR — I’ve done it a couple of times, but darned if I can remember how many pumps to breaths. Any tricks for remembering?

    There were seven people in my family. We would make the twelve-hour drive to LA once or twice a year to visit grandparents in our big Chevy Impala. Three people sat up front, three sat in the back seat. And as the youngest, I sat . . . on the floor. Yup. My husband (one of two kids) has a hard time fathoming what those road-trips were like!

  3. jana says:

    I entertain my kids w/stories of how our family, on vacations, put lawn chairs in the VW van to create extra seats (read: family of 7 w/grandma and a foreign exchange student all in one vehicle!).

    When I was younger and we had a large stationwagon my parents would flatten the seats and create a huge bed/play area for us on roadtrips. Scary.

    My kids have never not worn seatbelts and/or carseats. They always wear helmets when they bike, etc.

    It sometimes amuses me when I realize how casual we were about safety when I was young. And it makes me greateful that I have so many resources to protect my little ones.

  4. Dora says:

    Deborah: They’ve now simplified the compression: ventilation ratio … it’s 30:2 for all single person rescuers.

    Jana: I remember those days as well. However, as a PICU nurse, I’ve seen too many instances where a little prevention or supervision could have averted disaster. I look forward to the day when the idea of safety is so ingrained that children will automatically include helmets and seatbelts in drawings of bicycles and cars!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou.

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