Pediatric Emergency Doc Shares Six Tips for Safe Summer Play

Parents and caregivers can help prevent injuries on the playground with these tips.

Outdoor fun in the summer can be just what the doctor ordered for cooped-up kids— but supervision and safety measures are essential. More than 200,000 children get treated in emergency departments each year for playground-related injuries, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Adam Sivitz, MD
Adam Sivitz, MD

“In our Emergency Pediatrics Center, we see a greater number of fractures in summer,” says Adam Sivitz, MD, Division Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “Some are caused by falls or contact injuries from running around and playing sports; others come from children falling or jumping from tall objects.”

To ensure safe playtime, Dr. Sivitz recommends the following guidelines to parents and caregivers:

1. Supervise young children at play.

“An injury or drowning can happen quickly, sometimes when you turn your back for even a couple of seconds,” he says.

2. Read posted rules with your children.

Look for signs with pool rules and playground signs that explain which equipment is appropriate for children of certain age groups. Also, look at the playground’s condition. “If the equipment is old, needs repair or has broken or sharp edges, don’t let your kids play on it,” Dr. Sivitz says.

3. Teach your children safe playground behavior.

“Anything can be dangerous if it has more kids on it than it should, or if children are roughhousing around the equipment,” Dr. Sivitz says.

4. Make sure children wear safety gear.

In New Jersey, children under age 17 must wear an approved helmet when cycling, roller skating, inline skating or skateboarding. “Wrist, elbow and knee protection can prevent fractures, too, especially for children on scooters or hoverboards,” Dr. Sivitz says.

5. Have kids use sun protection.

“Playing outdoors in the sun helps the body make vitamin D, which most people are deficient in,” Dr. Sivitz explains. However, to avoid sunburn, children should always use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. “Reapply it every 90 minutes,” he says.

6. Be creative to keep kids active.

No playground or pool nearby? “Even jumping rope for just five to 10 minutes is good for a child’s cardiovascular health,” Dr. Sivitz says. “I recommend any activity that gets children outside and gets their heart rate going.”

Expert Emergency Care for Children

The Emergency Pediatrics Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center—the largest pediatric ED in New Jersey—is open 24/7. “We see 35,000 children each year and care for all kinds of pediatric illnesses and injuries,” explains pediatric emergency medicine specialist Adam Sivitz, MD.

The center includes:

  • A waiting area for children and families that is separate from the adult waiting area
  • Board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialists and experienced nursing professionals
  • Immediate access to the full range of pediatric subspecialists at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, including Pediatric Intensive Care, Neonatal Intensive Care and the NJ Poison Information and Education System

Healthcare providers follow all COVID-19 precautions to ensure a safe environment for patients, visitors and staff.

To learn more about the Emergency Pediatrics Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, call 973.926.PEDS (7337).