Parents Rate Top 10 Summer Health Concerns for Kids

With spring sliding towards summer, parents are weighing in on the summer health risks they see for their adolescent children.

Sunburn, bee stings, and heat strokes made the list. So did concerns such as online safety and knowing how to handle an unsafe situation.

That's according to an online survey taken by 542 parents of kids aged 10-13 years.

Nearly one in four parents are “extremely” or “very” concerned about their school-aged child’s health during summer break, the survey shows.

The survey, conducted in late March, comes from the National Parent Teacher Association’s survey and was funded by the drug company GlaxoSmithKline.

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Parents’ Summer Health Concerns

The parents rated a list of 10 health issues related to their young adolescent.

Here is that list, along with the percentages of parents noting concern about those issues:

--Knowing what to do in an unsafe situation: 77 percent

--Understanding how to be safe online: 75 percent

--Making healthy food choices: 71 percent

--Getting a sunburn: 61 percent

--Getting injured while playing sports: 56 percent

--Getting bitten by a tick: 46 percent

--Swimming or playing at a pool, lake, or beach not attended by a lifeguard: 46 percent

--Getting stung by a bee or wasp: 44 percent

--Suffering from heat/sun stroke or dehydration: 44 percent

--Being exposed to an infectious disease: 42 percent

Almost all parents -- 95 percent -- said they want their child to be active and fit over the summer. Nearly a quarter said their child doesn’t get enough exercise over the summer. About half said their child spends too much time watching TV or playing video games.

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Parents’ Stay-Safe Summer Strategies

The parents also rated how likely they were to take certain steps to keep preteens and young teens healthy over the summer. Here are the eight steps most frequently chosen:

--Maintain open communication with him/her: 92 percent

--Provide him/her with healthy food choices: 81 percent

--Insist that he/she wear sunscreen: 75 percent

--Talk to him/her about Internet safety: 71 percent

--Ensure that he/she takes a bottle of water with him/her every day: 68 percent

--Make sure his/her vaccinations are up to date: 62 percent

--Teach him/her 911 protocols: 61 percent

--Teach him/her first aid protocols: 52 percent

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By Miranda Hitti, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

SOURCES: National Parent Teacher Association: “Summer Break: What’s at Stake?” Survey Fact Sheet.