As the month of June is closing, our final installment for National Safety Month is “Summer Safety.” What better time to pass on to you many safety issues that this time of the year brings. We hope you will have a great summer, and maybe some of these ideas will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that hot weather brings.
- First, the sun: most of us spend more time outdoors during summer months. Exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, especially for those who have fair skin and freckles. Be sure to wear sunscreen with a high SPF, and apply it often. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Heat: You need to gradually become used to being in the heat, especially those who must work outdoors. Drink lots of water or sports drinks, and stay hydrated. Take breaks as often as possible.
- Another heat issue: summer athletics. This is the time of year when baseball and other sports are taking place. Those who are working out for football are also exposed to conditions they are not used to. Be sure that your summer athlete stays hydrated and is allowed to take breaks.
- Fireworks: even sparklers can cause burns. Don’t allow children to use fireworks unattended. The best idea would be to watch a fireworks display and let the professionals handle it.
- Water: many boating and swimming accidents happen because of alcohol or drugs.
- Summer is a high-risk time for child drownings, the 2nd leading cause of unintentional deaths in children ages 1-14. Remember, no one watches your child as closely as you. A child can drown in 20-30 seconds. Don’t be distracted by cell phone calls or reading a magazine while supervising young swimmers.
- The driver of a boat should be as responsible as when he/she is driving a car. Be sure all children wear life jackets in a boat, and adults should wear them, as well, to set the example for the kids. Swimmers should not go out alone, but use the “buddy system.”
- ATV’s: Those who are not licensed to drive a car or under age 16 should not operate off-road vehicles. It’s safer to not carry a passenger, and always wear eye protection and reflective clothing.
- Camping: always tell somewhere where you plan to camp. Take along insect repellant, a first-aid kit, cell phone, and plenty of water.
- Picnics: keep cold foods cold. Avoid dairy products; mayonnaise spoils quickly. Throw out foods that are left out for more than one hour. Remember: “if in doubt, throw it out!”
- Traveling: if you are driving, watch for motorcycle and bicycle riders. They are entitled to their place on the road, too. If you are on a motorcycle or bike, watch for cars, and don’t get too close.
- Traveling, again: if you are traveling by plane or ship, be sure to wash your hands frequently and have hand sanitizer with you. You are exposed to more “bugs” when you travel and you don’t want to take them home with you.
- Weather: always be aware of approaching changes in the weather. Pay attention to forecasts, and find a safe place to retreat if the need arises.
- Pets: your pets are family members, too. Be sure they have plenty of fresh water throughout the day, and a shady place if they are outside. Never leave an animal in a car. It only takes a short time for them to be overcome by heat.
- It goes without saying: never leave children in a car!
Hopefully we have covered some of the hazards of summer. For kids, it’s the best time of the year – no school, no waking up early, and just having fun in general. For adults, it’s carrying on as usual. But when vacation or week-end outings roll around, always keep safety in mind.