• Is your backyard pool safe for your family?

    Having a backyard swimming pool means you can count on fun all summer long, as long as you have taken the appropriate measures to keep it safe. Unfortunately, swimming pools can also derail your summer fun by causing the need for a trip to the emergency room or even loss of life. Don’t let a beautiful summer day turn into a tragedy. Follow these steps to make sure your backyard pool is safe.

    Set up a secure perimeter

    Controlling access to your pool is one of the most effective ways of preventing an emergency. Ensure that your pool is surrounded by a fence that is at least four feet high and that has a gate that is both self-closing and self-latching.

    Adding an alarm to the gate is a great way to know if a child opens the gate when you’re not at the pool to supervise. Keep your pool covered and pull up all of the ladders when not in use.

    Lay out the rules

    Make sure that everyone who uses your pool knows the household rules. Kids should not be allowed access to the pool without adult supervision. Don’t allow running on the pool deck, where a fall could lead to serious injuries that need to be treated in the emergency room. Don’t allow diving, unless you have a designated diving area with deep enough water. Make sure all swimmers know to stay away from drains.

    Teach kids how to swim

    Learning how to swim can help your kids avoid many dangers in the pool. According to the American Red Cross , about 200 children die each year in backyard swimming pools, so being confident in the water and knowing even some basic swimming skills could save your child’s life.

    When summertime illnesses and injuries do strike, West Hills Hospital and Medical Center is here to help. Get information about our emergency care in West Hills or request a referral to one of our physicians by dialing (818) 676-4321.

  • Safety Guidelines for Dogs and Kids

    Most children love to play with cute animals, but unfortunately, this isn’t always safe. Even if a puppy or dog is usually gentle, it’s easy for a dog to interpret a child’s quick movements as signs of aggression. This is one reason why children are more frequently the victims of dog attacks than adults. The emergency care physicians of West Hills Hospital can help children heal from an animal bite , but prevention is always better than a trip to the hospital.

    Approaching Unfamiliar Dogs

    Kids need to hear information multiple times before they remember it—and even then, they may need frequent reminders. Don’t be shy about reminding your child to never approach unfamiliar dogs, even if a dog wanders into your family’s own yard. If your child does see an unfamiliar dog while playing in the yard, he or she should immediately go inside the house and inform an adult. To reinforce this lesson, consider comparing unfamiliar dogs to human strangers. You could remind your child that he or she wouldn’t hug the cashier at the supermarket and that petting an unfamiliar dog is much like this scenario.

    Petting Dogs Safely

    When it is permissible for a young child to pet a dog, he or she should only do so with adult supervision. Young kids need plenty of reminders to let the dog sniff the back of the hand first, then to pet the dog gently. Remind your child not to pull on the dog’s ears or tail, try to climb on the dog, or take toys or food away from the dog.

    Dealing with Aggressive Dogs

    Despite these safety precautions, aggressive dogs may still attack children . Emergency care physicians recommend teaching kids to be quiet and “still like a tree” when a dog approaches them. Kids should avoid looking directly at the dog, making sudden movements, yelling, or hitting the dog. If a dog does knock a child down, he or she should curl up into a ball. Emergency care physicians recommend covering the ears and head with the hands.

    If your child is attacked by a dog, please call 911 without delay to request emergency care in the West Hills area. In addition to our unsurpassed emergency care, West Hills Hospital recently opened our Advanced Wound Care Center, which offers specialized care for patients with traumatic and hard-to-heal wounds. Non-emergent healthcare questions may be directed to a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321.

  • How to Help Your Child Care for a Rash

    Most skin rashes are relatively harmless, although they can cause uncomfortable itching. Still, it’s always a good idea to consult a pediatrician at your community hospital, especially if this is your child’s first rash or if you’re not sure whether the rash is serious. Here at West Hills Hospital, our physicians are committed to providing high-quality, child-friendly care.

    Know When to Seek Medical Care

    Sometimes, skin rashes can indicate a serious medical problem that requires emergency care. If your child has a fever, it may be time for a trip to the ER. Other red flags include the appearance of tiny red dots that do not fade when pressed, the development of bruises not caused by injuries, and rash-related symptoms that last longer than a week. If you’re ever unsure of whether your child should be evaluated by a doctor, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call your family physician or visit the ER.

    Treat the Skin Gently

    If a physician has seen your child, follow his or her discharge instructions carefully. Otherwise, you can help your child feel more comfortable by treating the skin gently. Draw a bath for your child with warm—not hot—water and add a few cups of oat flour. You can easily make oat flour at home by adding a few cups of uncooked oatmeal to a food processor and pulsing until finely ground. After your child bathes, pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel. Try to leave the rash exposed to air as much as possible.

    Discourage Scratching

    Skin rashes can be itchy, but your child should try to avoid scratching. You can reduce the itchiness of a rash by keeping your child in a cool area out of the sun. Dress him or her in cotton clothing that has been laundered with hypoallergenic detergent. Keeping the skin well-moisturized can also help your child feel more comfortable.

    From skin rashes to broken bones, you can find the compassionate care your child needs at West Hills Hospital . Our hospital is proud to serve West Hills-area families with unparalleled maternity services, emergency care, specialized burn care, and cancer care. Parents can call (818) 676-4321 to speak with a registered nurse at our hospital.