What do you most enjoy about summer? Is it the warm weather? The longer days?
Maybe it’s the activities you enjoy doing with your family. There are certainly plenty to choose from – swimming, boating, barbecuing, sun tanning, hiking and canoeing.
For parents and stepparents alike, summer is the time of year when your children have much more free time. While there’s plenty to keep them busy, there are also plenty of dangers laying in wait.
As it turns out, almost all of the things we love about summer also have the potential to cause serious injuries.
We want to make sure you have an excellent, injury-free summer.
Let’s take a look at the dangers of the season, and identify the ways you can avoid these common hazards.
Summer months are far and away the best time for boating. But taking to the water must be done only after taking all safety precautions. Why?
Boating ventures present many opportunities for injuries and fatalities.
The U.S. Coast Guard tallied over 4,000 boating accidents in 2014, resulting in 610 deaths and 2,678 injuries.
Those are some very scary numbers. But there’s good news.
Only 12 percent of fatalities occurred on boats with an operator with a nationally approved boating safety certificate.
So, what can we learn from these statistics?
- (1) Lifejackets are a must on boats, and
- (2) boat operators should also be well trained, preferably with a boating safety certificate that meets national standards.
Parents or an adult supervisor should also closely monitor swimming pools.
Roughly 20 percent of drowning fatalities are children aged 14 and younger. Before your child takes to the water, make sure someone will be watching out for their safety.
The Sun and The Heat
For those that love to get a radiant tan, the summer is the perfect time of year to sunbathe.
However, overexposure to the sun is also the leading cause of skin cancer.
If you plan on being out in the sun, or if your children are heading outdoors, make sure to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm with a sun-protection factor of at least 30. Wear sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
Remember taking these steps doesn’t necessarily mean you can stay out in the sun for longer periods of time. Even the most protective of sunscreens doesn’t block all UV rays.
The sweltering heat of summer months is also a source of serious injury and death. Every year, hundreds of Americans die or suffer illnesses due to heat.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t engage in any strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day, or the hottest days of the year.
Most importantly, never leave children or pets alone inside a vehicle, especially during even mildly warm weather.
When the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the internal temperature of a vehicle reaches 99 degrees within 10 minutes, 109 degrees within 20 minutes and 114 degrees within 30 minutes.
Food Poisoning and Grill Injuries
Cookouts, barbecues and potlucks are regular occurrences at summer gatherings. Food and warm weather go hand-in-hand.
Yet, there’s also a spike in foodborne illnesses in the summer months.
First, bacteria grow faster in warm, humid weather, and a food’s exposure to bacteria is also greater during summer months, due to possible contact with more people, animals, soil and air. Second, activities outside
Second, activities outside increase, and most food-related activities (like cookouts) are not subject to the same environmental controls found in kitchens, such as refrigeration or germ sanitization.
Grills can also be a serious hazard. In fact, they cause around 8,900 home fires each year.
Always keep children away from grills and barbecues. Make sure to keep grills at a safe distance from your home and your vehicle.
Working Outdoors in the Summer
Many Americans also work outside when the weather gets warmer. For those with a green thumb, be sure to take precautions regarding sun and heat exposure.
Be especially careful with sharp tools used for gardening. Train your children how to properly use these tools.
Perhaps the biggest danger when working outside in the summer is a lawn mower.
These injuries occur in a number of ways. Lawn mowers quickly become hot while mowing, which can cause burns.
They send projectiles that can strike anyone in the vicinity of the mower. Always wear protective gear while mowing (never, ever wear flip-flops). Make sure children are inside while someone is mowing. Never allow children to ride on the lap of a person operating the mower.
Keeping yourself and your children safe from insects is also a top priority during the summer months. Watch out for wasp nests, hornet nests and beehives, and call a professional to remove these hives from your property.
To prevent bites from insects, always wear insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants at night, and avoid scented lotions and soaps since they attract insects.
The summer months present many opportunities for enjoying family activities. By keeping safety as a top priority, we can make sure our family’s summer is injury-free.
Keep a safety checklist to get the most out of these tips. Encourage your family members to be mindful of potential dangers they might encounter.
Be safe, and have a wonderful summer!
School ends for the summer, but should learning end as well? Research shows many students forget important school skills over the summer holidays/vacation. Click here to learn how to keep your child in learning mode over the summer.