We are officially two days into summer and couldn't be happier about it! Summer fun is something special, but the heat can bring some unforeseen dangers. When preparing for your favorite summer activities, don't forget to follow these safety tips to ensure that you and the whole family has a great time.
1. Understand and Use Sun Protection
Sunscreen and UPF clothing are a necessity when heading outdoors. Educate yourself on the meaning of the SPF numbers and what kinds of sun protection to use for your family. Extremely high SPF numbers aren't necessarily as important as careful coverage on all exposed skin. Also, different activities warrant more sun protection - such as hiking, playing in the water or vacationing near the equator. Make sure you have everything you need to protect against UV rays!
2. Protection against Bugs
Mosquitos are carriers of some of the summer's nastiest diseases such as Lyme & Zika and can be difficult to avoid. Arm yourself with repellents that use deet to keep the mosquitos away. Keep away from wasp & hornet nests and treat any stings immediately.
3. Helmets & Kneepads
When skating, biking or doing all kinds of summer sports, equip your kids and yourselves with bodily protection against falls. Helmets are a non-negotiable for head protection and kneepads are also important to protect from scrapes and burns on hot metal surfaces.
4. Practice Proper Water Safety
A vast number of preventable deaths in the summer are caused by drowning. If you or your kids are enjoying pool activities or water sports, always go in pairs and make sure kids constantly have adult supervision from a good swimmer. Be well equipped with proper flotation devices whenever you are at the pool, lake, ocean or other body of water. In many adult water-related deaths, alcohol is a factor. Avoid drinking before swimming or driving a watercraft. Sun & heat exponentially increase the effects that alcohol has on the body.
As it heats up, plan hydration carefully. Dehydration is no fun and could be deadly if ignored. Bring your own water storage and make sure you have enough for everyone in your party. If you are out on an especially hot day, make some stops in the shade to keep from sweating out too much.
6. Be Extra Careful in the Car
Summer can be a dangerous time on the road due to a number of factors: more road-trippers who are unfamiliar with the area, careless behavior behind the wheel and a heightened amount of bicyclists all sharing the road. So, be extra vigilant when driving. It is also important to practice good maintenance on your car during the summer to reduce any potential issues. Additionally, don't leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle for any length of time. Children are at risk of heat stroke when left in hot cars and this can lead to death.
7. Protect Your Food
Practice good food safety handling techniques during the summer months. Keep foods sealed and covered until they are ready to eat and keep them out of the sun if possible. When cooking outside, make sure meats are properly refrigerated before cooking and heated to the proper temperature before service. Finally, wash your hands often to prevent contamination!
For more summer safety tips, check out Seattle Children's Hospital's exhaustive guide!