While the summer months bring time off from school for the little ones, an abundance of fresh air, and moments soaking up the sun, they can also deliver burns. From the playground to the beach, summertime is abound with unpredictable accidents and injuries. Because BooBoosRX—Buglino Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery’s laceration repair division—is committed to educating parents on child safety, we want to make you aware of the potential burns your child may be exposed to and how to treat them.
According to nonprofit academic medical center Cleveland Clinic, a recent study found the ground can become hotter than the surrounding air when the temperature outside exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This means when the kids go outside to play, the pavement and driveway can potentially cause thermal burns without the proper footwear. Ensure your children are wearing sneakers or water shoes if they’re running around outdoors.
Playgrounds are another unsuspecting burn location. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports a thermal burn injury occurred on a 74-degree Fahrenheit day, leaving a child with second-degree burns from a plastic slide. When you’re at the park, watch out for uncoated metal equipment, slides, swings, or other play equipment, dark plastics and rubbers, and asphalt and concrete surfaces. The CPSC also explains younger children are more at risk for these types of burns because their skin is thinner and more delicate, and they have yet to develop the reflex reaction of removing themselves from a hot surface. To prevent a playground burn, check the temperature of the equipment before allowing your child to play, be aware of the weather conditions, dress your child appropriately with shoes and pants, and watch your children while they’re playing. To avoid extremely hot temperatures, schedule your trip to the park in the morning or early evening.
Because the summer is prime time for trips and vacations, the chances of car seat and seatbelt burns increase. Although nearly every car is equipped with air conditioning, seats in direct sunlight can still pose risks. For more information on this specific danger, read our blog “What to Do for Seatbelt & Car Seat Burns.”
The beach is also a potential cause of burns, specifically sunburn. Children’s skin burns quicker and easier than an adult’s in direct sunlight. And remember, the sun’s rays can still break through the clouds on an overcast day. Apply a minimum of 30 SPF on your child at least 30 minutes before venturing to the beach or outside. It may also be a good idea to invest in UPF clothing and hats for additional protection.
Unfortunately, you can take all the preventative measures possible, but accidents still happen. If they do, it’s imperative you understand how to handle them. A first-degree burn can be treated at home by running it under cool water or pressing a cold compress against it. Apply antibiotic ointment and cover with gauze or cloth. However, second- and third-degree burns must be cared for by professionals. These penetrate beneath the outer layer of skin, leaving breaks, redness, blisters, and charred skin.
Your options include going to the emergency room, where you may have to wait a few hours, or contacting your local, trusted plastic surgeon. If you call Dr. Anthony Buglino on your way to the emergency room, he can meet you there, fast-tracking your wait time and ensuring quick and careful treatment of the burn. You can also decide to visit Dr. Buglino’s Woodbury office, where he can provide treatment in a less-crowded environment. For immediate care, call (516) 864-0700.