We’ve already discussed the importance of children keeping safe when venturing outside, but this is never more important than in the summer. With longer, warmer days, youths will want to stay out later than before and are therefore, much more likely to find themselves getting into trouble.

There are a number of aspects to be talked upon in this section and you can find plenty of useful information throughout.

Staying Safe in the Sun

As we’re dealing with the summer months, one of the main concerns is going to be the sun. Whilst we may not have to deal with Mediterranean heat in the UK, it’s crucial to still be aware of the effects the sun will have.

  • Heatstroke

When it comes to long summer days, particularly when the sun’s at its highest, one of the biggest worries is going to be heatstroke. This is not to be taken lightly either, as heatstroke is a life-threatening medical illness.

In heat your body will be unable to regulate its own temperature and as a result, if your body temperature reaches 41.1°C or higher there’s the prospect of brain damage and potential death. Primarily, heatstroke will be a factor when overdressing or carrying out physical activity without hydrating properly.

There are a number of potential warning signs to the suffering of heatstroke and if any of the following become apparent, it’s highly advised to seek medical help:

  • Dizziness or confusion

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Nausea or seizure

  • Hot and dry skin

  • Temperature of higher than 40°C.

To help avoid heatstroke, it is advised for youths to keep out of the sun during its highest point (usually between 11am and 2pm), whilst taking in plenty of fluids and resting if feeling overheated.

  • Sun damage

Aside from heatstroke, another severe consequence of spending too much time in the sun is the possibility of being burned. Of course, this is easy enough to avoid by being sensible, avoiding the sun’s peak times and applying regular sun cream.

When selecting the appropriate sun cream, you’ll want a factor of 30 or above, which also protects against UV rays. Whilst a sun spray may be more convenient when applying, you should still ensure to cover all exposed skin.

For the application of sun cream, it’s advised to follow the guidelines below:

  • Always use sun cream whenever you’ll be exposed to the sun (applying 15-30 minutes

  • Ensure to cream areas such as the ears, hands, feet and neck

  • This should then be applied every two hours and always after swimmingThis should then be applied every two hours and always after swimming

  • Water will reflect sun rays and intensify its effect, so use a water resistant cream when in and
    around the pool

  • Make sure you have enough bottles and don’t use cream past its expiration date.

  • Dehydration

Another factor that’s going to affect you when out and about in the sun is dehydration. Remember, we lose water every day through various activities, whether sweating or using the toilet. As such, this needs to be replaced through intake of water and should become an important part of everyone’s diet.

In the heat, water and salt will be lost in greater volume due to sweating and fever-like symptoms because of the temperatures. As such, it’s important to ensure plenty of fluids are taken onboard, especially when partaking in any kind of sport or strenuous activity.

Bicycle Safety

With the health bits out of the way, youths are ready to go outside and start enjoying the nice, warm weather. However, in various activities they’ll want to partake in, there are going to be various risks to consider.

With the health bits out of the way, youths are ready to go outside and start enjoying the nice, warm weather. However, in various activities they’ll want to partake in, there are going to be various risks to consider.

  • Helmets

Youths don’t like wearing helmets on their bike, especially with a group of friends. It doesn’t look ‘cool’. What it does do though is offer excellent protection in the event of a collision or accident when cycling. Regardless of whether cycling to a friend’s house or taking on jumps in a local field, helmets should be worn each and every time.

Many injuries from bike accidents are to the head and these will result in brain damage or death, particularly for those not wearing a helmet. Hundreds of people are killed every year in the UK when cycling, so safety should always be a priority.

When selecting a helmet you should ensure it fits well and doesn’t move around when strapped on. If it does, it won’t provide the same level of protection. The straps should always be fastened below the chin area and remember to replace a damaged or old helmet. There are even specialist helmets available for those skateboarding, skating or playing various sports

  • Wearing safe clothing

Another way youths can be better protected when cycling is by wearing the right clothing. For instance, youths should wear brightly coloured clothes that are clearly visible from afar. This will ensure motorists and other road users can see them in plenty of time and act accordingly.

Reflective clothing is also ideal, especially at night, whilst if you’re travelling at dusk or night, your bike should be fitted with appropriate lights and reflectors. Also remember not to wear any baggy clothing as these can be caught up in the chain and spokes, potentially leading to an accident.

  • Knowing the cycling rules

Most youths undertake a cycling proficiency test at school, ensuring they’re aware of road safety rules and how best to cycle when out and about. For those who aren’t sure, here are some of the key points all youths should be aware of before cycling around:

  • Traffic signs and lights apply to bikes as well as cars

  • Ride in the same direction as a vehicle at all times

  • Use cycle paths and the road, rather than pedestrian paths

  • Ensure to check both ways before emerging onto a road from a junction or driveway

  • Avoiding cycling too close to parked cars

  • Never allow someone to sit on the handlebars when cycling

  • Don’t listen to music through headphones as you can’t hear the traffic around you

  • Use appropriate hand signals when turning left and right, to ensure other road users are aware of
    your intentions.

Water Safety

The summer months are welcomed as an opportunity to enjoy the water, whether this is the beach, lake, or swimming pool. When the weather’s hot and sticky, the water can be a great place to cool off. However, as fun as swimming can be, it can also be extremely hazardous. It’s the second leading cause of accidental death and 1,000 youths are killed in the water every year.

Professional swimming lessons are one way to help reduce the risk of drowning, but this doesn’t mean these youths are no longer at risk. In the sea especially, a current can quickly take you away from the coast and the deeper you get, the more risk there is of drowning – Especially as you become flustered and tired from swimming

Youths should also be aware of staying in water for too long, when conditions such as hyperthermia can set in. if you’re shivering or have muscle cramps, remove yourself from the water as quickly as possible.

When swimming:

  • Never swim alone or too far from land

  • Beware of jagged rocks or glass under the water

  • Be careful of weeds and grass which could catch your leg

  • Avoid drinking alcohol when swimming

  • At the beach, know where the lifeguard is and try to keep in close proximity

  • If caught in a current, swim parallel to the shore whilst waiting for assistance

  • Avoid swimming in bad weather especially in storms and lightening spells.

Sports Injuries

Of course, sports injuries can occur at any time throughout the year. However, youths (particularly boys) are probably going to be spending a lot more time outside over the summer, especially kicking a ball around their local field.

With any sport there’s the potential for injury and for this reason you should know the different types and how best to avoid them.

As children grow, becoming larger and stronger, their potential for serious injury increases. As such, those aged 16 are more likely to do themselves more harm than those aged 8.

  • Common Sports Injuries

There is a range of sporting injuries to be aware of, from minor to serious. For younger children, injuries are likely to be bruises, sprains and strains, whereas teenagers will be prone to severe injuries, including broken bones and ligament tears.

That’s not to say serious damage can’t be caused at any age though. This may include bone breaks, ligament injuries and concussion. If there is the worry of any of these, it’s important to seek medical assistance immediately.

For youths who spend a lot of time playing sports there’s also the possibility of injury through overuse. This is often because muscles and tendons aren’t given enough time to recover and are therefore, more likely to stretch and tear. Athletes and sportspeople often pick up these, but they’re also common in teenagers and adults of any age.

If you suffer from a reoccurring injury listed below, the best course of action is RICE. Some of the common overuse injuries will include:

Knee pain: Knees are one of the most important joints and unfortunately, also prone to injury. If you manage to get through life without any form of knee trouble, you can count yourself lucky. Reoccurring knee pain often results in tendon or cartilage damage, mainly due to the tightening of muscles in the leg.

Elbow pain: Repetitive movement in the arm and elbow can result in something often described as ‘tennis elbow’. This repetitive strain results in pain and tenderness around the elbow, so the swing or throw won’t be as effective.

Shin pain: Shin pain, or shin splints, is discomfort in the lower legs and are often caused from running on hard surfaces, typically concrete, for long periods of time.

In youths, reoccurring injuries are common because the body is still growing, so there’s an imbalance between strength and flexibility. They’re also caused because youngsters will fail to warm up correctly or not use appropriate kit, such as running shoes.

Remember, for any sports injury it’s important to follow active steps for RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) and seek medical help for more serious strains and breaks.