Just as I was developing my post on the most important safety tips for summer, I read about three tragedies on Seattlepi.com. They involved swimming, ATVs, and barbecues.
So it’s important to think safety when you’re having summer fun. You don’t want to have an avoidable accident happen to you or anyone in your family.
1. Swimming and pools
The 24-year-old man who drowned in the Walla Walla River had been drinking beer before he jumped off a 14-foot cliff into the water. He was knocked unconscious, and other swimmers weren’t able to save him. Alcohol and swimming don’t mix. Don’t drink when you’re swimming. Other tips are don’t swim alone and watch children at all times in swimming areas and near pools and spas. If you have a pool, make sure you have the latest safety equipment. About 300 children drown in residential pools each year, with another 2,300 under 5 years hospitalized due to near-drowning. See "Pool Safety – Simple Steps Save Lives" for details.
2. All-terrain vehicles
The two deaths that occurred in Washington state on ATVs last weekend were caused by speed. A 43-year-old man and a 14-year-old teen were the victims. If you ride ATVs, take a training course, don’t ride double, wear protective gear, don’t ride on paved roads, and don’t drink when you ride. See "With Two Deaths in Wash. State This Weekend, It’s Time to Review ATV Safety" for more information.
The tragedy involving a barbecue was a two-alarm fire caused when the residents started the barbecue on the back deck and left it unattended. Four hours later, a fire broke out. The residents of the home got out, but the damage was estimated at $50,000. Tips for safe barbecuing are learn how to operate your barbecue before you begin, keep a fire extinguisher handy, put the barbecue in a safe place, check the equipment frequently, keep your grill clean, and don’t drink alcohol when you grill. For details, see "Top 10 Safety Tips for Barbecue and Grilling."
4. Dehydration and heat stroke
It’s easy to get overheated in the summer as the temperature climbs. To prevent dehydration and heat stroke, drink lots of water, wear cool clothing, stay out of the sun, and don’t drink alcohol. Also don’t leave your pets, children, or the elderly in a vehicle unattended. On warm days, the temperature can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. As of June 8, nine children left inside hot cars have died in the United States this year. Visit "How to Prevent Heat Stroke and Dehydration During the Summer Months" for additional information.
Temperatures are rising, and as a result, the temperature of playground equipment and surfaces can climb much higher – up to 140 degrees or more. At that heat, a child can suffer second and third degree burns in just a few seconds. Parents should touch the surfaces of play equipment with the back of their hand before letting their children play on them. Children also should wear their shoes at all times. Check out "When Playgrounds Get Too Hot for Tots" for further information.
6. Lawn mowing
About 75,000 Americans adults and children are injured in lawn mowing accidents each year. Safety tips include don’t let a child sit on your lap when you’re operating a riding lawn mower. It’s also a good idea to keep children out of the yard when you’re using a traditional power mower as well. In addition, be sure to remove rocks and sticks from the yard before mowing, use protective equipment, turn off the motor before removing debris from the blades, and add fuel properly.
Food poisoning increases during the summer because bacteria and other organisms that occur in the environment grow faster in the warm summer months. In addition, outside activities increase because more people are cooking outside at picnics, at barbecues, and on camping trips. Summer food safety tips include keep everything clean, separate the raw meat and poultry from the vegetables, use a meat thermometer to make sure hamburgers and chicken reach the correct internal temperatures, and don’t let food sit out for more than two hours. If it’s more than 90 degrees, it’s one hour. See "Food Safety Tips" for details.
8. Eye damage
Your eyes can be damaged by the UV rays in sunlight. Be sure to wear sunglasses that filter out UV light if you are out in the sunlight in the summertime. See "Top 10 Summer Health Risks" for details.
9. Car accidents
The number one killer of young people is driving accidents. Avoid summer car accidents by never drinking and driving, always keeping summer road trips to a reasonable length, and never driving after midnight
More than one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the America yearly. Getting sunburns can increase your chances of getting skin cancer. Remember to limit sun exposure, wear protective clothing, and use sunscreen.
Have a fun summer. It’s so great to be enjoying the warm weather.
Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist