Summer is a time for vacations and relaxation, which is why many of us tend to put our guard down as temperatures go up. In fact, many emergency rooms report seeing an increase in visits during the summer months due to falls, burns, water-related injuries and more. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while you and your family enjoy having fun in the sun this summer.
Pools are the perfect way to cool off during the summer. Plus, have you seen some of the fun floats that are out there these days? You can lounge on an inflatable pizza slice, cow, or even an avocado – what a time to be alive! Whether you’re taking a dip in your own backyard, the neighborhood pool or at a friend’s, don’t forget about these tips:
- Shower before and after swimming. It’s a common rule at swimming pools, but does anyone actually follow it? Not to sound like your mom here, but there’s a point to it — showering helps prevent gross bacteria from getting into the pool. The chlorine in pools won’t kill all contaminants, and outbreaks of a gross parasitic infection linked to swimming pools have been on the rise. Yuck!
- Check pools drain and suction covers. These should be fixed ASAP if they’re broken, as they can potentially cause major injuries if they’re not working correctly. Consider installing automatic shut-off systems and verify that your drain covers are compliant with safety standards
- Always make sure that there’s a designated adult around to keep an eye on children. Kids should never be left unattended while swimming, even if they have floaties or life jackets on.
Brush Up On Your Grilling Safety
Mmm. There’s nothing like enjoying a hot dog or hamburger that’s fresh off the grill! Summer is the perfect time for cookouts, but it can be easy to overlook safety precautions when it comes to grilling carefully.
- If you’re using a gas grill, check for any potential leaks before turning on the grill. To check your grill for gas leaks, all you need is a small basting brush and a bowl of very soapy water. Turn the tank valve to the on position. Do not light the grill. Now brush your soapy water over all hoses and connections. Apply slowly and watch for bubbles to form. Any place you have bubbles forming (there will be bubbles from the application already) you have a leak.
- Make sure the grill is thoroughly cleaned before use. Most of us don’t think of grill brushes when we think of grill hazards, but people are injured each year from accidentally swallowing wire bristles. In fact, from 2002 to 2014, emergency departments across the U.S. reported over 1,600 grill brush injuries. Ouch! Make sure there are no bristles stuck to the grill before and after you’re done with it. If you want to skip using a wire bristle brush altogether, you can opt for wire mesh brushes or ones with nylon bristles instead.
- Don’t grill near any buildings or structures. This will help reduce the risk of a fire. If you’re grilling at home, make sure the grill is positioned at least 10 feet away from your house.
- Have emergency supplies on hand in case of a fire. Since water should never be used to put out a grease fire, keep baking soda or sand nearby just in case in flames ignite and get out of control. You can also use a fire extinguisher that’s safe to use on grease fires, like a class B, ABC or K extinguisher.
Play It Safe At Playgrounds And On Swing Sets
There are all kinds of playgrounds and swing sets that are made with different materials. It’s a good idea to regularly keep an eye out for any repairs that may need to be made on your backyard variety.
- Check swing sets for sturdiness, rust and wood rot. Swing sets can become damaged and weathered over time. Make sure to inspect for potential hazards or anything that kids could easily trip over.
- Gauge the temperature of slides and swings. Under the summer sun, they can heat up extremely quickly. The last thing you want is for your little ones to suffer any burns.
Remember To Beat The Heat
Heatstroke is a serious condition that tends to sneak up on people during the summer, especially when they’re outside for long periods and don’t realize just how hot temps are.
- Stay hydrated. Water is your best friend, especially in the summer. Stay diligent about regularly drinking water or sports drinks that contain electrolytes to help prevent dehydration. If you know that you’ll be outside for a long time but you don’t want to lug around a water bottle, you can always buy a hydration backpack. They’re like regular backpacks but with water bottles built in, so you can keep your hands free.
- Take breaks inside. Stay indoors when possible during the hottest part of the day, which is usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Wear light-colored clothing. Dark colors absorb the heat, which means you’ll get sweaty and uncomfortable much faster than wearing light-colored clothes.
No one wants to spend their summer recovering from an injury! Remember to have fun, but to also remain proactive and observant. By following these tips, you can ensure that you and your family have a great and safe summer.