As a trauma surgeon, there are days of the year that we know will be busy calls. New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and the upcoming Fourth of July.
It’s a good reminder that we all need to be safe and keep our loved ones safe over the summer. It’s also a good reminder that no matter what kind of physician or surgeon you are, you have a unique opportunity to bring messages of safety to your patients. As healthcare practitioners, the respect we get from the public and the position we have at anchor institutions in our communities puts us in the position of being able to spread public health messaging. For me, this includes safety messaging, but even if you’re not a trauma surgeon, take the opportunity to say, “Hey, it’s warm out. Don’t forget to be safe at the pool and to wear a bike helmet.” Or, print off some safety messages and brochures and leave them in your waiting room.
This summer, let’s remember, for ourselves and remind our patients:
- Children should never be left alone around water. Pools, lakes, ponds, and bathtubs are all drowning risks for children, and even capable swimmers are at risk of drowning. Even adults should never swim alone, and children must be watched at all times. Lifejackets should be worn when boating. Pools should have covers that can support the weight of a child, should be fully fenced and locked, and door alarms should be on all homes with pools.
You can learn more about swimming pools safety at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx
- Fireworks and firecrackers are fun, but need to be used with adult supervision. Fireworks should never be lit out of a hand, they should always be lit on a concrete surface with ample distance between the observers and the fireworks. Make sure not to wear loose clothes and always have water nearby. Consider glow sticks for small children instead of sparklers.
To learn more on firework safety visit: https://www.safekids.org/
- Bike helmets should be worn at all times, by adults and children when riding bicycles or scooters. Check your state for rules regarding children and motorcycle helmets, as some states require motorcycle helmets for children, and some do not. Despite your state laws, the safest way to ride a motorcycle or any recreational vehicle is to wear a helmet and appropriate clothing to protect from engine burns and road rash.
If you need help finding a bike helmet, or if your patients want one for free, you can get one at: https://helmets.org/cheapies.htm
- Bites, stings and sunburns can be prevented by using bug spray and sunscreen. Don’t forget, and reapply often! If you are hiking or live in an area where ticks are endemic, be sure to check yourself and any children in your care for tick bites. You can check if your area is endemic for ticks at: https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html
Please share the above links with your patients, family and friends, tweet them out from your personal accounts or the accounts for your practice or hospital. Have a great summer, have fun and be safe!
Dr. Bonne is a board-certified general surgeon with additional training and certification in Surgical Critical Care. Her clinical interests are in trauma and injury prevention, trauma epidemiology, and infections in the surgical intensive care unit. She participates in the American College of Surgeons, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. She leads the American Medical Women’s Association Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Dr. Bonne is the current Communications Chair for the AWS, and also serves as the faculty advisor for the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School chapter. She is a wife and mother to three young children.
Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.