10 Summer Tips to Keep Your Family and Home Safe
It is summer time, and the livin’ is easy! It is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. It is also a time to stay safe and secure, as there are many dangers that come along with summer fun in the sun. Take a look at the following tips to ensure a safe summer season.
1. Fun in the sun means greater potential for heat injuries.
Summer is synonymous with “fun” for many people. Summer is also synonymous with “heat” in most areas of the world. Heat is not just an inconvenience when the temperature goes up, but also a danger to you and your children.
The most minor heat injury, heat exhaustion, has relatively mild symptoms. Fatigue, abdominal and leg cramps, and excessive thirst are the first indicators. Heat exhaustion leads to heat stroke if left untreated, and heat stroke is a serious condition.
Trouble breathing, headaches, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and flushed skin are symptoms of heat stroke. The victim’s skin may feel hot, yet dry to the touch due to dehydration. This is a medical emergency, as damage to internal organs may result.
Keep fluids handy, and find a shady place for you and your children to take a break from the sun. Your children are much more susceptible to heat injuries than you are. If they are playing hard in the heat, ensure you are paying attention, as they may not realize they are suffering symptoms until it is too late.
2. Pay special attention to backyard pools.
You bought that backyard pool so the family could enjoy the summer months in style and comfort. Now it is your responsibility to keep your family safe! According to statistics released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Center for Disease Control, there were an average of 283 fatal drownings of children five years and younger between 2005 and 2007. Many more children were treated for submersion related injuries in those same years. Many of those accidents resulted in permanent brain damage.
If you have an in-ground pool, make sure there is a fence around it to keep young children out. Make pool rules and ensure your children know them, regardless of the type of pool. Most pools come with “adult supervision required” warnings – those are not just for show. Ensure that you keep your family’s pool a safe, enjoyable place this summer.
3. Know that your grill is a major injury waiting to happen.
Even though adult males are, statistically speaking, the primary users of outdoor grills, it is children that are most likely to get injured. Though fatalities are rare, serious burns and carbon monoxide poisoning are both major concerns. Enjoy grilling this summer, but do it in an area away from any place the children are likely to play. Also, ensure proper ventilation. Never use an outdoor grill indoors!
4. Playground equipment is fun, but it should also be safe.
Supervision is the key word! Backyard playground equipment can serve a small family for many years. In order to keep your children safe, proper maintenance is required. Tighten bolts, file down rough edges, dry slippery surfaces, and get rid of the old rusty chains. If you aren’t going to be outside when your children are playing on the equipment, then keep yourself near a window so you can monitor them.
5. Insect bites are not always simple “ouchies”.
Many a child has suffered a small “ouchy” in the form of a bug bite. Mosquitoes, flies, bees, and wasps are just a few of the critters waiting to inflict a little pain on your little ones. However, flies and mosquitoes can carry diseases, and bees and wasps can cause serious injuries if the victim is allergic. Keep everyone safe by using an effective insect repellent, eliminating standing water so there are fewer breeding spots for mosquitoes, and taking care of wasp and bee problems before they escalate.
6. Leaving your car windows down is asking for trouble.
Your car gets hot! The sun is beating down, and maybe you’re starting to regret that dark color choice. It doesn’t take long for a car sitting in the sun on an 80 degree day to get over 100 degrees inside with the windows up.
However, this is not an excuse to leave those windows down. Even if you are in the house and the car is parked in the driveway, leaving the windows down is akin to handing a thief a coupon to take anything they like out of your vehicle. Be smart, and leave those windows up!
7. Just because you’ve gone out the back door, it doesn’t mean your front door is safe.
As with your car, leaving a door or window open and unattended at your house is an invitation to disaster. Even if you are in the backyard, it only takes a minute for someone to take advantage of your mistake. A perpetrator could be in and out before you even know the door has been opened.
8. Your garage might be your refuge, but that doesn’t make it secure.
The garage, shed, or workshop is supposed to be a safe place to keep your tools and outdoor play things. You know this, and so do thieves. If you secure the rest of your home, make sure to secure your garage and your outbuildings. Tools are one of the primary targets of thieves. Don’t make their job easier!
9. Your kids are not the only children that want those expensive outdoor toys.
That nice bike, scooter, RC car, baseball glove, or go kart is your child’s most prized possession. Make sure it does not become the prized possession of someone else! Teach your children to secure their belongings, just as you would secure your own. Leaving toys outside and unattended is a quick route to having to confront a neighbour about a small thief in their house, or even having your toys end up in the local pawn shop.
10. Don’t come home from summer vacation to find a summer nightmare.
Summer time is vacation time. If you are going away for an extended time, or even just a couple of days, alert your neighbours so they can keep an eye on your property. Ask them to report any suspicious behaviour. Additionally, it is appropriate to alert the local police department so they can periodically stop by and make sure nothing has been disturbed. Light timers set at random intervals and a security system are also great ideas. Don’t come home to a disaster. Ensure you come back to house that is the same as when you left.
These are just a few of the concerns that summer brings. The key is to supervise your children, no matter what the activity, and use common sense to secure your home. A little extra attention now can lead to a safe guilt-free summer of fun!