Summer is a time for fun in the sun for adults and children alike. You don't want that fun to be hampered by illness, injury or a trip to the emergency room. Here are some quick tips to keep the family safe so that you can enjoy the whole summer.
Summertime means vacation time, which usually includes trips to the beach, lake, water park or just the community pool. Enroll children in swim lessons from a young age. Even if a lifeguard is on duty, never leave your children unattended and always keep an eye on them in the water. And remember that children can drown in any source of water, including baby pools, creeks, and even buckets.
Sun and Heat-Related Illness
Always apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before going outside, even if it's cloudy. Take frequent water breaks in the shade to cool down and stay hydrated. Even better, schedule outdoor activities in the morning or evening, avoiding peak sun hours. If adults or children display symptoms of heat-related illness or heat stroke, get out of the sun immediately and seek medical attention. And of course, never ever leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can quickly get dangerously high, even with the windows cracked.
Ticks and Bug Bites
To protect against ticks and mosquitos, wear protective clothing, like long pants and long sleeves, when you are outside in the evenings or hiking. Stay in the center of hiking trails and avoid overgrown areas or sitting directly on the ground. Use a repellent that contains DEET, and check yourself and your children for ticks when you get back inside. If you find a tick, remove it immediately and be on the lookout for symptoms of Lymes Disease, including a bullseye rash, fever, headache or flu-like symptoms. If you are bitten by a mosquito, avoid scratching and use an itch reliever.
Perishable food items should be kept out of the sun, especially mayonnaise and salads containing mayonnaise. Take your cold food out of the refrigerator right before eating, and return leftovers back to the fridge right after you've finished. Make sure your meats are cooked thoroughly, reaching a temperature of 145 degrees for steaks and roasts, 160 degrees for ground beef and pork and 165 degrees for poultry. Keep the grill away from the house and other structures, and mostly importantly, keep the children away, as grills can stay hot even hours after use.
With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, it is time for fireworks shows. First, make sure fireworks are legal in your area. If they are and you buy some, never allow young children to play with fireworks, and older children always need to be supervised. Never light fireworks near structures or other people. Even "safe" fireworks like sparklers can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees. Your best bet is to grab a blanket and a picnic basket and leave it to the professionals.
Follow along with these easy tips, and your family will be safe and having fun all summer long!