Safe This Summer: Packing for the playground and what to include in your first aid kit

Posted at 8:24 AM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 09:03:30-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - Looking to get some of that youthful energy out?

A playground is a great spot to get active and have fun. It's the kind of fun Dr. Olivia Carey loves seeing from her patients.

"We encourage what we call unstructured play where they can be creative and explore and be around other kids. It's actually very important," said Dr. Carey, a pediatrician with Lakeview Pediatrics, a Bayview Physicians Group practice in Suffolk.

But, as with anything where physical activity is involved, accidents do happen and that's why it's important to be prepared.

Dr. Carey says kids should wear closed-toed shoes when visiting a playground. She also suggests they apply sunscreen whenever outside and have plenty of water on-hand.

Then, there's the first-aid kit.

"All we really want parents taking care of is simple bumps, bruises, cuts so [it should have] some gauze to hold pressure if there's any bleeding, clean off a wound, maybe some triple antibiotic ointment you can get over the counter at any drug store and then just a variety of Band-Aids and bandages," she told News 3.

But sometimes injuries do require a visit to urgent care or the Emergency Room. Broken bones are a possibility, yes, but concussions and other head injuries are something Dr. Carey says parents need to watch for.

"If a child loses consciousness for any period of time, even if they're acting normally, they should be evaluated. If they're complaining of things like nausea, headache, changes in vision, that's very concerning so obviously want to bring them in," she said.

Cuts bleeding for longer than two minutes even with continued pressure should also quickly be seen by a doctor, Dr. Carey says.

Minor injuries like slight sprains or a minor burn from hot playground equipment aren't as immediate and can be seen by a pediatrician or family doctor.

But hopefully it's not an issue.

"[Make] sure that we're using equipment as it's designed to reduce injuries. Always feet first down slides, sit on the swings, don't stand or fly on your belly," said Dr. Carey.