Summer safety in tampa bay

How to Avoid Common Summer Injuries: Top Tips from Muma Children’s Hospital at TGH

Summer is in full swing and while it’s a time for fun and sun, it is also important to remember some precautions to keep loved ones safe. From swim safety to beach hazards and travel reminders, Muma Children’s Hospital at TGH has a few reminders to keep kids safe this summer.

Swim Safety

Recent drownings in our area serve as a stark reminder to pay close attention to children around water, whether you’re at the beach or pool. Even if there is a lifeguard, someone should always be designated to keep their eyes on children around water to prevent accidents.

Consider dressing your child in a bright orange, yellow, or red swimsuit that makes it easier to spot a submerged or struggling child. Also, if your child needs a life vest while swimming or boating, make sure it is Coast Guard-approved.

It is important to enroll children in swimming lessons so that they learn survival skills early.

Related: Watermelon Swim teams up with Shaq Barrett to offer swim lessons to more kids in Tampa Bay

Beach Injuries

Some of the top injuries in children we see in the TGH pediatric emergency department during this time of year can range from mild to serious and often include the following:

  • Sunburns – prevent burns by applying sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher every hour when out in the sun and seek shade when possible; if sunburn occurs, apply a cold compress, stay hydrated, and use children’s pain reliever. Large blistered or swollen areas typically require a doctor’s visit.
  • Cuts from sharp rocks or shells – Wash these areas with soap and water and avoid gulf/ocean/pool waters. If there is concern for foreign bodies stuck in the wound or ongoing significant bleeding or a deep cut, seek care in an urgent care or ER. Wounds that become red, swollen, have drainage, or result in a fever should be evaluated by a doctor.
  • Marine life stings such as jellyfish or stingrays – For jellyfish stings, remove the child from the water, allow them to rest, carefully remove any leftover tentacles, and rinse with seawater. For stingray wounds, soak the area in warm to hot water as tolerated by the child for pain relief, apply pressure to any bleeding, and follow up with a doctor visit to examine the puncture. Call 911 or visit the emergency center for any breathing troubles, vomiting, paleness, hives, or facial swelling after any type of marine life or insect sting.

Fireworks Safety and Preventing Other Burns

Fireworks, even sparklers, can cause severe burns to hands, fingers, and even the eyes. Watch professional fireworks shows at a safe distance or, if using fireworks at home, keep a bucket of water or hose nearby.

Don’t forget about barbecue grills, firepits (even embers), and hot concrete – these can also cause severe injuries and require a trip to a burn center.

Even if children do not experience an injury that would require immediate medical attention, it is a good idea to always be prepared with a first aid kit containing bandages, antibacterial spray, and over-the-counter medicine. By prioritizing safety at every turn you can help prevent unnecessary accidents and keep kids out of harm’s way.

Related: The Top 10 Difference at Tampa General Hospital

Dr. Jasmine Patterson, Tampa General Hospital Muma Children's Hospital
Dr. Jasmine Patterson, medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Muma Children’s Hospital at TGH

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Jasmine Patterson was born in Virginia and attended medical school at the Medical College of Virginia, graduating in 2009. She completed an Emergency Medicine residency at Wake Forest University in 2012.  Dr. Patterson was an attending physician for two years in Adult Emergency Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After realizing how much she missed caring for children while working in the adult emergency department, she went back to Wake Forest University and completed a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship in 2016. Since 2016, Dr. Patterson has been practicing both adult and pediatric emergency medicine at Tampa General Hospital (TGH). She is the medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Muma Children’s Hospital at TGH. She is also a core faculty member in the Emergency Medicine residency program at the University of South Florida.  Dr. Patterson is active in hospital committees that help ensure the highest level of care is available to sick or injured children in the Tampa Bay Area and her passion is teaching and mentoring the next generation of emergency medicine physicians.


*Cover photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images/Halfpoint