The Most Common Summer Injuries for Kids

September 7, 2015
Picture of a young girl playing on a playground.

For many kids, summer brings warmer weather and more opportunities for rigorous play. Unfortunately, as children become more active in sports and outdoor recreation, they also become more susceptible to injury. Below, we explore some of the most common injuries affecting children at this time of the year, and we also provide helpful tips on how to avoid summer injuries.

Playground Slips & Falls

According to the National Safety Council, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger go to U.S. hospital emergency departments for injuries associated with playground equipment each year, and almost 80% of playground injuries are caused by falls. To reduce your child’s chances of being injured, be sure to look for a playground that:

  • Features a soft, impact-absorbing ground surface, such as a rubber mat or wood chips
  • Has equipment spaced far enough apart to prevent overcrowding
  • Includes guardrails on any elevated equipment
  • Is free of sharp edges and pointy objects (e.g., protruding bolts and hooks)

You can also help prevent injuries by talking to your child about how to correctly use playground equipment and ensuring that they’re wearing proper attire (for example, avoid necklaces and clothing with drawstrings, since they could easily get caught on something).


Whether they’re on the playground, at the beach, or in their own backyard, many children spend a considerable amount of time in the sun during the summer months. In fact, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, most people receive about 80% of their lifetime sun exposure by the time they turn 18. With this in mind, it’s important that you take the following steps to help prevent sunburns:

  • Stay inside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. whenever possible, since that’s when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Make sure your child is wearing protective clothing (for example, a brimmed hat and a long-sleeved shirt).
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen (one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays).
  • Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside so that it has time to absorb.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least once every two hours, and more frequently if your child is swimming.

Unfortunately, sunburns aren’t the only type of burns affecting children at this time of the year. Be sure to carefully monitor your child when they’re around barbeques, campfires, and fireworks.

Bicycle Accidents

According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, about 254,000 children are injured and 100 are killed due to bicycle-related accidents each year. The following bike safety tips can help keep your child safe this summer:

  • Inspect your child’s bike to make sure it hasn’t sustained any damage since last year—for example, you should check that the tires are properly inflated, the chain has enough tension, the brakes are working, and the alignment is correct.
  • Chances are good that your child has grown since last year, so adjust their bike seat and handlebars as needed.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of wearing a helmet and bright, reflective clothing whenever they’re riding their bike.
  • Invest in a bicycle basket or saddle bag to hold your child’s gear so that they can keep both hands on the handlebars when riding.

What to Do if Your Child Gets Injured

Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to keep your child safe, there’s still a chance that they can get injured. If that happens, you’ll need to decide where to take them for treatment. Life- and limb-threatening conditions should always be treated as an emergency—for injuries like that, call 911 or get to a nearby hospital as soon as possible. But for less serious injuries, urgent care is generally a more time- and cost-efficient alternative to the emergency room.

If you opt to visit an urgent care provider, choose PhysicianOne Urgent Care. Our network of urgent care centers has been serving patients since 2008, and we proudly offer injury treatment services to adult and pediatric patients across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. All of our urgent care centers are open 365 days per year during extended hours, and we never require appointments. Our experienced team provides professional, fast, and friendly urgent care, delivering an exceptional experience to every patient, every time.

Another quality setting us apart from other local urgent care providers is that we offer an integrated 24/7 telemedicine service. If your child sustains an injury in the middle of the night, you can speak to one of our local providers over our secure videoconferencing platform. They’ll provide at-home treatment recommendations, and if they determine that your child needs hands-on care, they’ll make arrangements for you to visit our nearby urgent care center the following morning.

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