Summer is enjoyable for adults and kids alike, but with the arrival of school vacation many people will be traveling and children will be outdoors much more frequently and exposed to increased recreational hazards. Part of our summer preparations is to remember important summer safety tips when heading out to the pool, camp, or even the backyard.
One of the most important things we can do is to educate ourselves about summer safety as well as follow simple tips to help prevent unnecessary injury. It is important to stay alert, be mindful of potential risks, provide close supervision and take preventive measures to keep children, as well as ourselves and others, healthy and safe this summer.
We challenge each of you to be safer than last year. Stop and consider each activity for possible risks, and then exercise your best judgment on how to manage those risks.
Enjoy the summer months ahead and come back with good memories to share with all your friends and families.
"Summer is lazy days, beautiful nights, wind tossed hair, water fights, sandy toes, sunburned nose; summer is a blast, with memories that always last"
Always wash your hands before handling foods. Disposable wipes are useful when there is no water nearby.
Cook foods to proper temperatures and store promptly, keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
When grilling, use a meat thermometer to ensure that you cook meat and poultry thoroughly.
Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Also, put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than back on the one that held the raw meat, to avoid cross-contamination.
Be sure to thoroughly clean hands and utensils after handling raw meats especially chicken.
Chill foods before placing them in the cooler. Coolers are meant to keep foods chilled but cannot chill warm foods.
Prepare salads such as potato, macaroni or chicken before leaving home. Thoroughly chill items before placing them in the cooler.
At the picnic site, keep the food and the cooler out of the sun.
Do not carry the leftovers home especially uncooked meats, cold cuts and casseroles. It is safer to discard them.
When you're finished eating, refrigerate leftovers promptly.
Lock all doors and windows. Remember to lock garages and sheds too.
Stop mail and newspaper deliveries and ask a neighbor to pick up any advertising circulars left on your porch.
Park your locked car in your driveway or have a neighbor park it there.
Connect automatic timers to indoor and outdoor lights, as well as to a radio or television.
Turn down the ringer on your phone. If you have an answering machine, make sure your message does not tell callers you are on vacation.
Tell a neighbor or relative where you can be reached at all times.
Don't post anything on social media sites alerting users that you are heading out of town and away from home for an extend period of time.
If you've never learned to swim, now's the time.
It's always a good time to learn CPR - Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation - especially if you'll be supervising others.
Always supervise young children around water (stay close enough to reach a child at all times and avoid distractions such as playing cards, reading a book or talking on the phone) However, always have a phone near-by in case of an emergency.
A drowning can happen quickly, and usually silently. Avoid alcohol while supervising children and before or during swimming, boating or waterskiing.
Prevent water-related injuries and drowning by swimming with a buddy and swimming where there's a lifeguard. Always use life jackets and secure personal flotation devices - do not substitute air-filled or foam toys for safety gear. When enjoying natural bodies of water, be aware of the local weather conditions and forecast. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning can be dangerous.
Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip tides/currents. Also know and obey the posted warnings. For example, beaches often have different colored flags (red, yellow, green) to indicate beach conditions. Pay attention to lifeguards or posted instructions.
Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck.
Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
Use sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
Avoid indoor tanning.
Stay hydrated with water-based drinks.
Keep children out of the yard while mowing the lawn.
Do not allow passengers on a riding mower.
It is recommended that children under the age of 14 not be allowed to operate a power mower.
Always prepare your lawn before mowing. Be sure nothing is hidden in the grass, such as sticks, rocks, toys etc.
Handle the fuel with care. Never fill the tank on a mower that is hot. Never smoke or use any kind of flame around gasoline. Wipe up spills.
Wear appropriate clothing and shoes: long pants, long-sleeved shirts, eye protection, heavy gloves and sturdy, closed-toe shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles.
Make sure that protective guards, shields, the grass catcher, and other types of safety equipment are placed properly on the lawn mower and that your mower is in good condition.
If your lawn mower is electric, use a ground fault circuit interrupter to prevent electric shock.
Do not cut wet grass.
Never reach under a mower while it is still operating.
Store gasoline only in clearly marked containers approved for flammable liquids, outside of your home (preferably in a locked, detached shed) away from any heat sources.
Plan ahead using a good map.
Learn about all camp and trail conditions as well as possible hazards prior to the hike.
Always know the location of the closest phone, alert others as to where you will be at all times.
Bring: drinking water, rain gear, sun screen, insect repellant, flashlights, extra food, clothing and batteries.
Be considerate to your pet in the hot summer months. Extreme heat can be fatal to a dog, so keep your pet inside when the temperature soars. In hot weather make sure there is a shady spot outdoors where your dog can escape the sun.
When keeping your pet outdoors, make sure to provide plenty of fresh water. Do not keep pets in vehicles for long periods of time. A dog can overheat very rapidly.
Make sure your fence is high enough so that your dog can't jump over it and deep enough that he won't dig under it. Also, keep your fence in good condition for the safety of your dog and others. Make sure you latch the gates securely.
Keep antifreeze, fertilizers, insecticides and other lawn, garden and pool chemicals in a shed or a garage and well out of your dog's reach. These potent products can be poisonous to your pet.
Be certain that garbage cans and compost bins are inaccessible to your pet. Fatty or decomposing foods can make your dog sick. Bones from chicken or other meat can splinter and puncture your dog's throat, intestine, or the roof of his mouth and cause injury to these areas.
Take responsibility for your pet.
Pet Owner Responsibilities - Do's and Don'ts:
This is the time of year that thunderstorms may occur very quickly. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lightning is one of the most underrated severe weather hazards. Lightning is caused by the attraction between positive and negative charges in the atmosphere. There are two types of lightning: cloud to cloud and cloud to ground. High winds, rainfall and a darkening cloud cover are the warning signs for possible cloud to ground lightning strikes. While many lightning casualties happen at the beginning of a storm, more than 50% of lightning deaths occur after the thunderstorm has passed. The lightning threat diminishes after the last sound of thunder, but may persist for more than 30 minutes.
When a storm is approaching you can reduce your risks from lightning.
Remember if someone is injured by lightning, they do not carry an electrical charge and can be given first aid. Call 911 or send for help immediately. The best idea is to be prepared and have a plan in place before the storm approaches.
An important and powerful reminder to all of us about the importance of using seat belts. Watch The Karen Risser Story - The Importance of Buckling Up.
Warmer temperatures aren't just attractive to people, but to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus; ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other serious infections; and fleas can transmit plague.
To prevent these illnesses, use an appropriate insect and tick repellent and apply it properly.
Prime mosquito-biting hours are usually dusk to dawn, but ticks are out at all times. Empty out any standing water on your property to eliminate breeding grounds.
Secure all window and door screens tight and patch any holes.
To keep ticks at a distance, avoid tick-infested areas (especially places with leaf-litter and high grasses) and use repellent containing 20% DEET.
You can also treat clothing with the repellent permethrin, (which protects through several washings) or purchase clothing that is pre-treated with permethrin. Always
follow the directions on repellent packaging.
After coming indoors, shower as soon as possible and check your body for ticks.
Make sure that your children also bathe or shower and get checked for ticks. Wash and tumble dry your clothing and check your pets for ticks.
If you find an attached tick, don't panic; ticks are easy to remove with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Consult your healthcare provider if you develop a rash, fever, body aches or fatigue in the 1-3 weeks following a bite. It could be any number of illnesses.