Summer Safety Tips

By Aimée Foott, Security Consultant, Sonitrol Pacific Tacoma
Posted May 16, 2008

Summer Fun Brings More Emergency Room Visits:

Studies on bicycle helmets show they can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%. Always wear a helmet when on a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, skateboard, or all terrain vehicles.

With kids out of school be more aware when driving in residential neighborhoods. Kids can dart out in the street after a ball or toy. Be careful backing up your car because you cannot see a small child in your rear view mirrors.

If you have a swimming pool, always place barriers around the pool to prevent access, use door and pool alarms, and closely supervise children when in the pool.

Never bring charcoal grills indoors. Burning charcoal produces deadly carbon monoxide.

When cooking outdoors with a gas grill, check the air tubes that lead to the burner for blockage and insure that there are no cracks or sharp bends in the hose or tubing.

To prevent serious injuries while using a trampoline, only allow one person on at a time, and do not allow somersaults. Make sure the trampoline is away from structures and other play areas.

Hide-n-seek games can become deadly. There are numerous suffocation deaths involving children who crawl inside old cedar chests, freezers, refrigerators, iceboxes, clothes dryers, and picnic coolers. Child proof appliances and instruct children not to play inside them.

Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of open windows. Window stops can be installed that will only allow the windows to be opened 4 inches. Whenever possible, keep furniture away from windows to discourage children from climbing near windows.

Summer means yard work. When mowing the lawn, keep children out of the yard. If lawn slopes, mow across the slope with a walk-behind mower, never up and down. With a riding mower, drive up and down the slope, not across it. Never allow children on a riding mower.

Limit sun exposure and apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply at least every two hours. Be aware that some medications can increase sensitivity to the sun. These medications include various antibiotics, ibuprofen, and cosmetics with glycolic acid and lactic acid.

Bee stings can be avoided by wearing light-colored clothing, and avoid using scented soaps and perfumes. Don’t leave food, drinks, and garbage out uncovered.

Heat illness occurs when the body’s cooling system shuts down. Mild symptoms include thirst, fatigue, and cramps in the legs and abdomen. If left untreated, heat illness can lead to heat stroke with serious heat-related symptoms including dizziness, headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, decreased alertness, and a temperature as high as 105 F or more. About 400 people die each year from heat exposure, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

Burns from fireworks can be very serious. Most burns involve the hands, head, and eyes. For a minor injury, run cool water over it and cover it with a clean, dry cloth. Don’t apply ice, which can worsen the burn. Don’t apply petroleum jelly or butter, which can hold heat in.

Foodborne illness is caused from under cooked meat and contaminated produce. Bacteria, whether in food or in the air grows faster in warm weather. To prevent food poisoning, always wash hands well with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and before cooking and eating. Keep raw food separate from cooked food. Always marinate food in the refrigerator, cook food thoroughly, and refrigerate promptly. The FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than on hour when the temperature is above 90 F. Any other time, don’t leave food out for more than two hours.