Summer is a Fun Time... Make it Safe Time, Too!
Enjoy the summer weather and all that comes with it, but be sure to take the precautions that will keep you and your family safe. This page and the others associated with it, offer tips with an intentional focus on the very young and the very old as these populations are the most vulnerable to the heat.
For many, the summertime is a time to sit back and relax a bit, enjoy friends and family and the great outdoors. Extended time outside often includes hours spent at the beach or near a pool, with picnics at a local park. Regardless of what you do, you can usually count on increased exposure to sun and heat. Here are some tips to protect you as you take in all that summer has to offer.
The Skin Cancer Foundation shares some facts that may surprise you:
- More than 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging are caused by the sun.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
It's no wonder that sunscreens should be considered a vital part of a comprehensive sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade, covering up with clothing including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses and avoiding tanning and UV tanning booths. Learn more about skin cancer and how it can be prevented.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children each year. Here are some tips to help keep kids safe around water:
- Never leave a child unattended around water. Children are drawn to it, and very young children can drown in just an inch of water.
- Empty all buckets, pails, and bathtubs completely after each use.
- Always have an ADULT supervising young swimmers.
- Be sure that the adult watching your child knows how to swim, get emergency help and perform CPR.
- Don’t mix alcohol with the supervision of children.
- Keep rescue equipment (such as a life preserver or shepherd's hook) and a telephone near the pool.
- Plastic or blow-up wading pools should always be drained and stored in an upright position after each use.
- Keep your pool area secure. Enclose pools completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence. Do not leave furniture around that children can use to climb over the fence.
- Teach your child to swim at an early age.
- Flotation devices or inflatable toys are not substitutes for supervision, even if a child can swim. Download a Summer Safety Tips brochure from the NJ Department of Children and Families. (Spanish speaking version)
Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)
RWIs are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and cause indoor air quality problems. The illnesses that result in cause infections in the gastrointestinal system, skin, ears, respiratory system, eyes, neurological system, and may lead to wound infections. To lessen your chances of contracting these infections, follow these steps to healthy swimming:
- Don't swim when you have diarrhea.
- Don't swallow swimming water and avoid getting it in your mouth.
- Practice good hygiene by showering with soap before swimming and washing hands often (especially after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.)
- Take children for regular bathroom breaks and change diapers often.
- Wash children thoroughly with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can contaminate a swimming area.
Boating and Alcohol - A Potentially Fatal Combination
It is estimated that as much as 50 percent of all boating accidents are alcohol-related. This stands to reason as alcohol can decrease a person's ability to handle a boat in many ways. As a depressant, alcohol goes straight to the nerves, bloodstream, and the brain. Even a few beers on a hot summer day can impair your balance, vision, and coordination. Additionally, dilated blood vessels increase dehydration rates and drinking impairs personal judgment. Even if you are not at the helm, drinking while boating is a dangerous combination, especially if the boat is overturned.
Never Leave a Child Unattended in a Car
The temperature inside a car can get dangerously hot, even in moderate weather with the windows slightly down. Kids can suffer from heat stroke causing serious injuries and sometimes death. Simply leaving the air conditioner on doesn't make your child safe. A child could put the car in drive, get caught in a closing power window or be abducted.
Here are some tips to keep kids safe around cars:
- Never leave a child unattended in a car. Not even for a minute.
- Always lock your car and secure the keys so that your kids can't get to them.
- Warn your children about playing in and around cars.
- Install a trunk release mechanism so that kids can't get trapped inside the trunk.
- Get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about unloading the groceries and items out of the car.
More Summer Safety Tips
- Have kids wear a properly fitted helmet when riding a bike, skateboard, scooter or rollerblading.
- Keep a shock-absorbing surface under and around home playground equipment.
- Always supervise kids on play equipment.
- Use caution with outdoor grills when children are present.
- Never depend on screens to keep children from falling out of windows. Install window guards in any room where young children spend the time to prevent children from falling out of windows.
- Limit sun exposure for kids and infants.
- Apply sunscreen, even on cloudy days, and reapply every two hours, or after swimming.