Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Safety Tips

A great time for outdoor sports, vacations and family gatherings, summer is the most active time of year for adults and kids alike. Increased activity, however, means increased chances for accidents and injuries. Although this list doesn’t cover every possible mishap, here a few tips to help you and your family stay safe during the most active and enjoyable time of the year. 

Happy 4th of July

Patriots celebrated the first Independence Day in 1777, just one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Bells rang out, candles were lit, guns were fired and firecrackers were set off. That tradition carries on today with cities throughout the U.S. shooting off between $75,000 and $300,000 in fireworks every 4th of July.
On a smaller scale, families throughout neighborhoods in the U.S. enjoy personal fireworks shows, but the American Academy of Pediatrics warns fireworks are dangerous and can cause permanent burns, scars and disfigurement.
Although most experts agree the best option is to attend a local fireworks show in your community, if shooting off fireworks is a tradition in your family, be sure to follow these simple safety rules.
  • Make sure an adult is present at all times. Children should never play with fireworks without adult supervision.
  • Though generally considered safe, sparklers can reach a temperature of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt gold. Make sure kids keep them outside and away from the face, clothing and hair.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at someone, even in jest.
  • Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them when lighting.
  • Always use fireworks outside with a bucket of water or hose nearby.
  • Don’t let kids pick up fireworks after an event; some may still be lit.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash.
  • Buy only legal fireworks (illegal ones will not have labels on them) and store them in a cool, dry place.
  • If someone is injured from fireworks, call 9-1-1 immediately. If the injury is to the eye, don’t rub the eye or attempt to wash it out. Wait for professional help to arrive.

Water Safety Tips
When the weather heats up, splashing around in cool, refreshing water is a welcome treat. While it’s natural to head to the beach or pool in the summer months, taking a few precautions will help ensure your family enjoys safe hydro fun.
The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips:

At the Beach
  • Swim in areas where a lifeguard is present; a study by the United States Lifesaving Association reports your chances of drowning are five times greater on a beach without lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Never leave a young child unattended in the water.
  • Be sure young children wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
At the Pool
  • Install a barrier around the pool and consider safety covers and pool alarms as an extra precaution.
  • Never allow children to swim without an adult present. 
  • Do not let children play around drains or suction fittings.
  • Adults should stay within arm’s reach of small children.
  • Always keep a cell phone nearby
General Water Safety
  • Enroll the whole family in swim lessons to ensure everyone knows how to swim.
  • Avoid alcohol use when swimming or participating in water activities.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first.
  • Enroll in a first aid or CPR course to learn how to respond in emergency situations.

Bug Safety

Families spend more time outdoors during than summer. Unfortunately, outside is where the bugs are.   More than just an annoyance, insects can cause painful bites and stings in addition to carrying infectious diseases. To ward off the pesky creatures, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises the following:
  • Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes or hair spray on your child.
  • Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate.
  • Avoid dressing your little fashionista in bright colors or flowery prints.
  • Don’t combine sunscreen with insect repellent products. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, but insect repellent should not be reapplied.
  • To prevent insect-related diseases, use repellents containing DEET, but do not use DEET on children under 2 months of age.  For children over 2 months old, the recommendation is to use 10 to 30 percent DEET. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about 2 hours, and 30 percent protects for about 5 hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage.

Toy Safety
Within the increased sunlight hours, children are playing on their toys for many hours a day. Whether your child enjoys bike rides, skating devices or off-road vehicles, following these safety rules will help prevent injuries.   
  • Make sure children wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how close to home.
  • When purchasing helmets, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets CPSC safety standards.
  • Children riding skateboards and scooters should wear protective gear at all times, particularly ASTM-approved safety helmets.
  • Before riding skateboards or scooters, survey the terrain for obstacles such as potholes, rocks and debris.
  • Children under the age of 8 should be closely supervised at all times when riding skateboards and scooters and when using inline skates.
  • If a child is too young to have a driver’s license, he or she should not operate an off-road vehicle.
  • Never ride double on an ATV. Most ATVs are built for a single rider.
  • All ATV riders should wear helmets, eye protection and sturdy shoes (no flip-flops).
  • Wear helmets designed for motorcycles and not bicycles when riding an ATV.
  • Be sure the ATV is equipped with flags, reflectors and lights to make it more visible.

Travel Safety Tips
Summer vacations create memories that last a lifetime. Whether vacation plans call for exploring national landmarks, playing in theme parks or studying foreign cultures, the trip will be smoother if you plan ahead and follow these basic safety tips.
On the Road
  • Always use car safety seats with young children, and be sure older children are buckled up at all times.
  • Children under the age of 13 should ride in the rear seat.
  • Bring interesting toys and games to keep children occupied.
  • Plan on stopping every two hours to give children a break.
  • Never leave a child alone in a car, even for a minute. Temperatures can reach deadly levels on the inside of a car quickly.
  • Bring a traveler’s health kit that includes medications, basic first aid supplies, sunscreen, insect repellent and a contact card with information for a close relative, your family physician and your health insurance company.  
  • Bring water and snacks.

In the Air
  • Be sure children under the age of 2 are securely fastened in child restraint seats. If you use your car seat, check the label to be sure it’s approved for motor vehicles and aircraft.
  • Call the airlines ahead of time to ensure they have emergency equipment designed specifically for small children.
  • Keep your child’s seatbelt on him or her as much as possible.
  • Take the aisle seat for yourself and let children take the middle and window seats.
  • Never let your child go to the lavatory alone.

  • Take a copy of the travel itinerary to your pediatrician. He or she can assess any disease risks and determine if additional immunizations are required.
  • Carry an up-to-date immunization record for each child.
  • Check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for any warnings they might have about visiting your destination.

General Family Travel Tips
  • When in foreign places and tourist destinations, designate a central meeting place in case someone gets separated from the pack.
  • Check hotel rooms for safety hazards such a sharp objects, and bring along child safety gadgets such as outlet covers and toilet locks.
  • Don’t let children answer the door in hotel rooms. Instruct them to get an adult if someone knocks on the door.
  • Leave copies of your travel documents with a family member back home including passports, insurance cards, itinerary, emergency medical numbers and credit card information.
  • If divorced, be sure to follow the provisions outlined in the parenting plan before and during your vacation. For help drafting a parenting plan, contact Jennifer T. Dane, P.A. at 407-260-0500 or visit for more information.

Have a Safe and Happy Summer!

Sources:, Fireworks Safety,, Cost of Fireworks: How much do cities spend?,, Fireworks: Handle with Care,  American Red Cross, Water Safety, my, 10 Rules for Safety,  University Hospitals, Summer Travel Safety Guide,, Child Travel Safety Tips, American Academy of Pediatrics, Travel Safety Tips.

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