Summer is a very exciting time of year for children and their families. People are out of school and there are barbecues, the beach, amusement parks and more to enjoy under the sun. Before you pack your bags to enjoy all of the festivities, let us remember a few safety tips that can help you and your family avoid serious injury during this fabulous summer season.
Water safety tips
Everyone should follow basic safety rules in and around water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that nearly 4,000 people drown each year. To keep yourself and your family safe this summer, remember:
- Ensure that everyone in the family becomes water competent — that is, learn to swim well, know your limitations and how to recognize and avoid hazards, and understand how to help prevent and respond to emergencies around water.
- Adults should actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. Kids should follow the rules in public pools.
- Fence your pool in with four-sided fencing that is at least 4 feet in height and use self-closing, self-latching gates.
- Wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level as a swimmer.
- Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair — everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. If in a location with no lifeguards, such as a residential pool, designate a “Water Watcher” to keep a close eye and constant attention on children in and around the water.
Driving safety tips
Summer is the time for road trips and fun. However, in order to avoid accidents and other serious injuries, remember these following tips:
- Be well-rested and alert before long trips. Always use seat belts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.
- Clean your headlights and turn them on as dusk approaches or in inclement weather.
- Don’t drink and drive. If you are drinking, always have a designated driver available.
- Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones. Use caution in work zones. There are lots of construction projects underway on the highways.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
Grilling safety tips
When it comes to grilling, the National Fire Protection Association says more than 9,000 home fires are started by grills each year. Research also shows over 16,000 people are rushed to the hospital due to grill-related injuries, mostly burns. When using a grill or smoker, always be sure to:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Never grill indoors — not in your house, camper, tent or any enclosed area. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire.
- Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
Beach safety tips
In the midst of all of our other safety tips, we cannot forget about beach safety. It is always important, especially in the summer, so remember these tips:
- If you plan to swim in the ocean, a lake or river, be aware that swimming in these environments is different than swimming in a pool. Be sure you have the skills for these environments.
- Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.
- Make sure you swim sober and that you always swim with a buddy. Know your limitations and make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
- Protect your neck — don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters. Watch out for and avoid aquatic life.
- If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Signal to those on shore that you need assistance. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.