Whether your summer plans include a family vacation, BBQ cookouts, swimming parties or renovating your home, this time of year in Texas can be dangerous. Brad Parker says, “Summertime safety is so important. Due to the influx of children who will be running, riding bikes, and playing outdoors, not to mention teenagers on the road, it’s important to remember that they’ll be doing these things in your neighborhood. Drivers should be on the lookout, especially when backing out of the driveway.”
Here are some of the other Summertime safety issues to consider now that the season is upon us:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that car accidents lead to nearly 30% more fatalities in summer than in the winter. Teenagers are found to be the drivers in most of these accidents. If you’re planning on being on the road during this time, you should be especially careful and pay special attention to the other cars on the road. Adhere to speed limits and ensure that your passengers are always buckled up.
Before launching your boat, be sure you are confident in your ability. This can be achieved by completing a boating safety education course. Life jackets are at the core of safe boating. The U.S. Coast Guard reports 76% of boating deaths in 2020 were due to drowning, and 84% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket. Brad says, “Even the best swimmers need life jackets. When people fall off a boat, they may become disoriented or unconscious. Every child should wear a life jacket at all times when boating.” Many boating accidents are caused by drunk driving. “When you mix boating and alcohol, you create a dangerous situation that can lead to disaster,” Brad says.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second most common cause of death by unintentional injury, behind car accidents, among children ages 1 – 4 years old. Some summertime pool safety tips to remember include:
- Never leave children unsupervised in a pool area.
- Always have rescue equipment and a phone near the pool.
- If a child is missing, check the pool and nearby areas first.
- Never dive or slide headfirst into a pool less than five feet deep.
- Surround pools with a gate or fence four feet or higher.
- Pool gates and fences need child proof latches.
Heat stroke can happen when someone is very active in extreme heat or does not consume enough water. To avoid a heat-related illness be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing and drink plenty of water. If you must be outside during the hotter portions of the day, try to stay in the shade and limit physical activity. Signs of heat-related illness include:
- Muscle pains, cramps, or spasms
- Heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache nausea or vomiting
- Confusion, fainting or unconsciousness
- High body temperature (over 103 degrees) with dry skin (not sweating)
- Rapid pulse
To minimize the risk of skin cancer and avoid severe sunburn, doctors advise everyone to apply sunscreen when spending time outdoors. Experts advise us to be mindful of the “Sun Protection Factor” or SPF on our sunscreen and be sure to re-apply when necessary. For example, a sunscreen that has an SPF 30 will protect you for 30 minutes after application. Doctors warn that an individual should seek treatment if their sunburn results in blisters or they experience nausea, headache or extreme pain or chills.
Summer is peak fire season in Texas, especially in a year when we are experiencing a drought. The classic backyard cookout is responsible for serious property damage and personal injury. Remember these grilling tips:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- Grills should be placed well away from homes, decks, and out from under eaves.
- Maintain a 10-foot area that is free of brush and shrubbery around grills.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from grill units.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- When you are finished, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
Ticks are a common problem in North Texas and could be very harmful if left undetected. While Lyme disease is the most commonly transmitted infection, other forms of tick-related illnesses are on the uptick. Deer ticks are common, as are lone star ticks. Ticks from the South are known to transmit the bacterial infection Ehrlichiosis. To remain healthy, try to avoid areas with high grass and always check yourself and your children when you get home.
Summertime should be a FUN time for all so keep these tips and guidelines in the forefront of your mind this summer.