What's there not enjoy about summer? It's a special time of year with warmer weather, longer days, outdoor living, gatherings of family and friends. It's a great time of the year so don't let it be spoiled by common mishaps that can all too often happen around your home. By being informed and prepared you'll be equipped to prevent, or deal with, some of the potential dangers that accompany the season.
Here's a quick list of the most common safety concerns and how to avoid them:
- Adult supervision is of paramount importance. Parents need to focus on their children 100% of the time. No distractions!
- Practice “touch supervision” (a term used by the American Academy of Pediatrics). This means that at all times, the supervising adult is within an arm’s length of the child being watched, when near or in the water.
- Utilize life jackets appropriate to the size of the individual, but DO NOT rely on them as a replacement for supervision.
- Remember, no child or adult is “drown proof.”
- Keep in mind that children can drown in many different water sources including: bathtubs, toilets, buckets, baby pools, backyard swimming pools, community pools, streams, creeks, lakes, rivers, oceans and other places.
- Avoid sun exposure during peak sun hours (10 AM – 6 PM).
- Wear protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (with 99-100% UV protection).
- Sunscreen is a must (on sunny and cloudy days)! Look for products with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 15 (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Association of Dermatology).
- Sunscreen should be applied liberally 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapplied every two hours or sooner if swimming, sweating or toweling off.
- Look for shade whenever possible.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
- Take regular breaks in the shade.
- Try to schedule your most vigorous outdoor activities for times when the heat isn't so strong, such as early morning or late afternoon.
- For persons suffering more serious dehydration or heatstroke, get them indoors, have them lie down, and cool them off with ice packs and cool cloths.
- Someone who is seriously affected by the heat may need intravenous fluids in the ER.
- Wear closed-toed shoes -- preferably with a steel toe -- when you mow, along with goggles or sunglasses, gloves, and long pants that will protect you from flying debris.
- Keep kids away from the push mower and off the riding mower. Riding mowers are not just another ride-on toy.
- Get a professional to service your mower or learn how to do it properly. Important: Disconnect the spark plug to prevent it from accidentally starting. Turning a push mower's blade manually can ignite the engine.
- Clean -- Wash your hands as well as the surfaces where you'll be preparing foods.
- Separate -- Wrap raw meat securely and keep it stored away from other food items.
- Cook -- Bring along a meat thermometer. Grilling meat browns it very fast on the outside, but that doesn't mean it's safe on the inside. Steaks should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, ground beef and pork to 160 degrees, and poultry to 165 degrees.
- Chill -- Keep everything refrigerated as long as possible. Store perishable picnic items in an insulated cooler packed with ice, and follow the "last in, first out" rule -- whatever you're going to eat first should go at the top of the cooler.
- Mild cases of food poisoning can be cared for at home, Avoid solid foods, and stick with small, frequent drinks of clear liquid to stay hydrated. Once the nausea and vomiting have eased, you can try bringing food back into your diet -- slowly and in small, bland portions.
- If symptoms persist for more than a couple days (or more than 24 hours in small kids), see a doctor.
- Stay free of bees (and other stinging insects, including mosquitoes) when outdoors.
- Avoid heavy perfumes and scents (especially florals).
- Wear light-colored clothing with no floral patterns (stinging insects are attracted to dark colors and flowers).
- Guard food and sugary drinks like sodas.
- Take acetaminophen for the pain and an antihistamine for mild hives and swelling.
- See a doctor or go to the ER immediately when you have: Wide spread hives, itchiness, and swelling over large areas of your body, tightness in the chest or trouble breathing, swelling of the tongue or face, dizziness or feeling you will pass out.
- Wear protective clothing (long sleeves, long pants, tucking pants into socks).
- Use tick/bug repellant.
- Use insect repellant for pets.
- Stay in the center of paths, keeping away from overgrown areas and not sitting directly on the ground.
- Perform tick checks on all family members every day.
- Be aware of signs/symptoms of tick-related illnesses.
- Call the doctor for any concerns and questions.