Summer Safety Tips









Whether you’re relaxing on the beach, swimming in the pool, or exploring the great outdoors, keep yourself and your family safe this summer by following these tips for pool, sun, heat, and bug safety.

Pool Safety

Nothing is more synonymous with summertime than swimming pools. While pools are one of the most fun ways to beat the summer heat, they do pose danger if used without proper caution. Here are some pool safety tips to keep swimmers safe and sound.

Summer Safety_Pool Safety Fence
  • Always maintain constant adult supervision. Never leave children alone in or near the swimming pool or hot tub, even for a minute. During social gatherings, have adults take turns being the designated “water watcher” to supervise children and prevent accidents around the pool area. Keep a telephone and emergency numbers by the pool.
  • Block access to the pool. Install a four-sided safety pool fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent children and pets from accessing the pool. Remove steps to aboveground swimming pools when not in use.
  • Establish pool rules to prevent injuries. Discuss the pool rules with children and pool guests, such as no running around the swimming pool, no diving into the shallow end or from the side of the pool, and no sliding down a waterslide head-first.
  • Teach your children to swim. The National Safety Council suggests enrolling children in swimming lessons as early as age three, and the American Red Cross says most children are ready by age four.
  • Learn CPR. Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do in the event of an emergency. Ensure that babysitters, grandparents and others who care for your children know these lifesaving skills as well. Find a Swimming and Water Safety course in your area by contacting your local Red Cross Chapter at www.redcross.org.
See Swimming Pool Safety Tips for more pool precautions every parent and pool owner should know.


Photo courtesy of Pool Guard Safety Fences & Nets; Pool Guard of Long Island




Sun Safety

 

We all enjoy a little fun in the sun during the summer, but too much sun exposure can lead to serious health issues, including skin cancer. In addition, sunburn is not only painful but reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat. Shield your skin and reduce your risk of harmful sun damage with these sun safety tips.

Summer Sun Safety_Shade Tree Canopies

  • Protect your skin. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater every day, rain or shine—the sun’s blazing rays go right through clouds. Be sure to check the product label for “broad spectrum” to ensure protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Reapply often. Apply about one ounce of sunscreen to exposed skin at least 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Don’t forget the five commonly missed areas. These spots are often overlooked when applying sunscreen: The head (scalp and hairline), ears, feet (tops and sides), back of the hands, and lips.
  • Cover up. Wear a hat with at least a 3-inch brim and wear loose fitting, full-length cotton clothing with a tight weave.
  • Seek shade. Stay in the shade whenever possible and limit sun exposure during peak intensity hours (between 10 a.m. and 4p.m).
  • Keep babies out of the sun as much as possible. Dress children under 1 year old in lightweight, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants and always cover their head. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents also apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 to small areas like the face and back of the hands if protective clothing and shade are not available.
  • Protect your eyes. Ultraviolet radiation causes cataracts, macular degeneration, and melanoma of the eye. When buying sunglasses, look for a label that specifically offers 99 to 100 percent UV protection (which includes both UVA and UVB).
  • Check the UV index.  Visit www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html to check the UV index forecast for your area. The UV Index, developed by the National Weather Service and EPA, indicates the strength of solar UV radiation on a scale from 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high). Use this index as a guide when planning your outdoor activities for the day to prevent overexposure to the sun.
  • Be extra careful near water and sand. Water and sand reflect the sun’s rays, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
Photo courtesy of ShadeTree Retractable Deck & Patio Canopies



Heat Safety  

High temperatures increase the risks of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Stay cool this summer by following these precautions.

Summer Heat Safety_Patio Pools of Tucson
  • Drink water. Your body needs liquids to help regulate temperature. Drink water and other non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. (Waiting until you’re thirsty could be a sign that you’re already dehydrated.) Also remember to drink plenty of water or sports drinks containing electrolytes before, during, and after exercising to keep your body cool.
  • Monitor outdoor activities. Limit exercise or strenuous physical activity to early mornings and evenings when the temperature outside is cooler. Reduce, stop, or reschedule outdoor activities during periods of excessive heat.
  • Dress “lightly.” Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing; avoid dark colors as they absorb heat and sunlight.
  • Rest often. If you need to be outdoors during high temperatures, be sure to take frequent breaks in shady areas. Drinking sports drinks with electrolytes will replace the minerals and salt you lose through your sweat and help maintain your energy level throughout the day, as well as prevent muscle cramps.
  • Stay cool. Spend more time in air-conditioned places during excessive heat. If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a library, mall, or other location with air conditioning to reduce your risk of heat illnesses.
  • Check on family, friends, neighbors, and the elderly. Check on loved ones who do not have air conditioning, or who live alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat, such as children, seniors and anyone with health problems.
  • Keep an eye on pets. Check on your animals frequently to ensure they have plenty of water and shade and are not suffering from the heat. Never leave pets—or children—alone in enclosed vehicles.
Read the Red Cross’ Heat Wave Safety Checklist for more tips on staying safe in the heat.


Photo courtesy of Patio Pools of Tucson, Inc.



Insect and Bug Safety

Bug bites and stings are one of the biggest nuisances of summertime. Follow these bug safety tips to prevent mosquitoes, ticks, bees, and wasps from imposing on your outdoor fun.

Mosquitoes_Summer Bug Bites 

  • Avoid scented soaps, perfumes, and hair spray. Fragrance can attract insects like mosquitos and bees and increase your chances of getting bitten or stung.
  • Use insect repellents. Insect repellents with DEET are most effective against ticks and mosquitoes, which can transmit Lyme disease (ticks) and West Nile Virus (mosquitoes). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using repellents with 10% – 30% DEET on children over 2 months of age; DEET should not be used on children under 2 months. Note: Avoid using combination sunscreen/insect repellent products as sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours; insect repellent should not be reapplied. Apply sunscreen before repellent to ensure effectiveness of both products.
  • Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as pools of stagnant water, flower gardens, wooded areas, and uncovered food. Mosquitoes are prevalent from dusk to dawn, so try to stay indoors during these times if you can. Also keep away from bee hives and wasp nests and do not try to knock them down as this will agitate the insects and prompt them to attack. 
  • Inspect yourself and your children. At the end of the day, check your body and your children for ticks. Pay close attention to the back of the neck and ears, the groin, the scalp, and the armpits. If you find a tick, follow these instructions for tick removal from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Wear light-colored clothing. Bright colors and floral patterns will attract bugs. Wearing light colors also makes it easier to spot ticks. Be sure to wear long sleeves and pants when going on hikes or in wooded areas. Tuck shirts into pants and pant legs into socks or boots for extra protection.
  • Protect your pets. Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and can transfer ticks into your home. Talk to your veterinarian about flea and tick control programs for your pets.