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July 24, 2015

Healthy Together Summer Sign up

As temperatures rise in the summer, the number of accidents also goes up. That’s why it’s important for children and families to get covered with quality, affordable healthcare. Making children’s access to health insurance is a top priority through the Healthy Together campaign, a collaborative initiative of the Office of Mayor William Peduto, Allies for Children, the Allegheny County Health Department and the Consumer Health Coalition. The goal of Healthy Together is to enroll 100 percent of children and youth in the City of Pittsburgh in quality, affordable healthcare.

We talked to Chris Vitale, the Injury Prevention manager at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to find out why it’s critical for families to put health care enrollment on their summer schedules.

Healthy Together Summer Safety 2

Why is it important for families to obtain quality health insurance during the summer months?

It’s important to have quality health insurance all of the time. Traumas increase through the summer months, so there may be more frequent trips to the physician, urgent care or emergency room, but kids can be injured or become ill anytime and it’s always best to be covered. Healthcare also provides lots of preventive activities to keep kids healthy and safely active.

Why is Children’s Hospital witnessing an increase in visits to the emergency room?

Injuries go up over the summer months for lots of reasons; kids are out of school and looking for things to do all day (lots more unattended time frequently); curiosity gets the best of them when they get “bored;” they are involved in more frequent physical activity; routines have changed and they may be under a different kind of supervision than they are used to.

What tips do you have to keep kids safe throughout the summer?

Insect Repellent

  • Wear insect repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) when you go outside. For children, only use products that contain less than 10 percent DEET. Consult your pediatrician before using these products on a small child.
  • Wearing long pants tucked into socks and a long-sleeved shirt help protect you against mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Light colored clothing makes ticks easier to spot and also makes you less attractive to bees.
  • Check frequently for ticks when you are outdoors or in the woods. Deer ticks are very small—the size of the head of a pin. Dog ticks are larger.
  • Be careful at picnics. Sweet foods and drinks attract bees and wasps. Keep food—and the trashcan—covered.
  • Don’t wear sweet-smelling perfume.
    Be careful near woodpiles, sheds, dark corners of the garage and other places spiders may call home.

Insect Bites

  • If bitten by a mosquito, try not to scratch. Scratching irritates the bite and may cause infection.
  • Remove ticks with tweezers as soon as they are found. Grab them as close to the skin as possible and pull the tick up and out.
  • If stung by a wasp or hornet, leave the area immediately. These insects can sting repeatedly. Gently scrape the stinger off using the edge of a credit card or your fingernail. You might squeeze more venom into the skin if you use tweezers.

Water Safety

  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Enforce all pool rules, including no running, pushing or dunking other swimmers.
  • Make sure children know the depth of the water.
  • Don’t jump or dive in shallow water.
  • Keep a first aid kit, phone and emergency numbers near the pool.
  • Install a fence around the pool area and keep it locked.
  • Remove all toys and floating objects from the water when the pool is not in use.

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Bicycle/ATV Safety

  • Always wear a helmet that fits your head – not too big or too small.
  •  Wear the helmet flat on your head.
  • Before you ride your bike, make sure it is safe and working right. Ask an adult to check your bike for safety, especially if your bike has been in a crash.
  • Test your brakes.
  • Make sure the handlebars are straight and there’s enough air in the tires.
  • If you fall off your bike, tell an adult right away. You might not know that you’re hurt.
  • Be sure to follow the Rules of the Road:
  • Make sure you know and obey all traffic laws.
  • Always ride on the right side of the road.
  • Use proper hand signals to let others know that you are turning.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street with your bicycle. Walk, don’t ride, your bike across the street.
  • Never ride in between parked or moving cars.
  • When riding through a curve, ride in single file, slow down and stay to the side of the road.
  • Never ride out from a driveway or hillside.

Playground Safety

  • Equipment should be inspected on a regular basis.
  • Always have an adult present to supervise children on playgrounds.
  •  Encourage children to hold onto rails when climbing to the top of sliding boards
  • Children should always sit down feet first on sliding boards.
  • For swings, sit in the center of a swing, don’t walk or run in front or back of the swings, never stand on a swing, and don’t swing too high.
  • For jungle gyms, don’t play on them if you can’t reach the bars, always hold on with two hands, and never climb up on top of the bars.

For more information on how to prevent your children front getting hurt this summer, visit Children’s Hospital’s Be Safe portal. You’ll find additional safety tips, a home safety handbook and fun family activities, like coloring pages

Want to attend an enrollment event or learn more about this initiative? Check the Healthy Together website by logging onto GetEnrolledPGH.com. Need health insurance? Dial 2-1-1 to be connected to the Consumer Health Coalition. They will provide assistance at no cost.

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