Summer is a time for fun for teens and kids; school is out and families plan for vacations. But safety is important to consider in and out of the house. It’s important to note that most accidents occur at home. The warm weather can lead to water related accidents and heat related illnesses. Outdoor activities such as bicycling, skateboarding and hiking also have their safety concerns.
Water safety is a major concern for any time of the year. Every day ten people die from drowning. Drowning is the second most leading cause of accidental death in children between 1 and 14 years old. 30% of children 1-4 years old who died from accidental causes died from drowning. For those who survive a drowning, there could be long-term consequences such as memory problems, learning disabilities, or even a permanent comatose state. The major cause of drowning is lack of supervision and physical barriers. In natural water settings such as lakes and rivers, 65% of drowning occur in 15 year olds and older. The lack of life jacket vests usage result in 90% of boating related fatal accidents, the other causes are from trauma, carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia. The good news is that there are things we can do to minimize the risks, formal swim training can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% in children between 1-4 years old. CPR training increases the chances for survival and improves outcomes of drowning.
Supervision: a responsible adult should be assigned to monitor. The monitor should not be involved in other activities such as reading, doing chores, talking or texting on a phone.
Buddy System: all swimmers should never swim alone or without a lifeguard present.
Swimming lessons help but this does not substitute close supervision.
Learn CPR: this raises the chance for survival by treating before paramedics arrive.
Avoid Alcohol: teen and supervising adults should avoid alcohol
Physical Barriers: fencing around pools prevents young children from wandering into the pool area and drowning.
Remove Toys/Balls/etc from the pool after use: these toys become an “attraction” for young children who may not be able to swim.
Heat and sun exposure is a real concern during the summer when kids are out playing. The high temperatures coupled with playing outdoors in the sun with less clothing put children at risk of developing heat stroke. Kids would appear flushed and have decrease sweating, and have rapid breathing with a rapid heart rate. Sun exposure can cause severe sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. A cloudy day can be deceptive because UV light still pass through clouds and can cause sunburns.
Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after activities.
Wear light loose fitting clothing
Avoid playing outside between 10am-4pm when the sun is at its peak.
Stay in shaded areas, beach umbrella
Wear Sunscreen with at least a 15 SPF.
Wear a hat
Wear loose tightly weaved clothing
NEVER leave a child in a parked car unattended.
Summertime is a great time to go out hiking on trails and enjoying the outdoors but this is also the same time that snakes, scorpions, and biting/stinging insects are most active. When hiking trails it is best to avoid going off the trail and into the thick brush also avoid areas where snakes and scorpions such as under rocks or holes in the ground. Snakes like to avoid human contact so make a lot of noise and walk on top of rocks and logs to scare them off. If a snake bites you, call 9-1-1 and wash the bite with soap and water. Keep the bitten area below the heart; cutting into the bite and sucking out the poison is not effective. In some areas, scorpions are prevalent; they like to hide in dark areas like under blankets, in shoes, and clothes. So shake them before using them. If a scorpion stings you, wash the area with soap and water and place an ice pack on the area. Young children and the elderly should be taken to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment.
Insects like mosquitos, fleas and ticks can not only be a nuisance but also carry diseases like West Nile Virus, plague, and Lyme disease. The best way to avoid these diseases is to apply an insect repellant that contains DEET. DEET should not be used on infants, consider using oil of lemon eucalyptus which is non-toxic. Bees are especially active during the Spring and Summer. So avoid wearing perfumes and scented lotions. Brightly colored clothing especially floral prints are attractive to bees. Bees sometimes climb into open cans of sugared sodas and can sting the drinker if they are not careful.
If stung by a bee, gently scrape the stinger off with a credit card. Do not pinch the stinger and attempt to pull it out; it will inject more venom into your skin.
Apply ice to the area; this will slow down the spread of the venom.
If a bee lands on you do not swat it away. Gently blow on it to encourage it to fly away.
If a swarm of bees attacks, cover your face and mouth and run towards a building or shelter to hide from the bees. Jumping into a pool is not effective because bees will wait for you to come out and attack again.
Seek medical attention if you experience difficulty breathing, lip swelling, or dizziness.
Summer time is a great time to have fun outdoors but taking a few precautions can keep your family safe.