Summer is traditionally a time for spending time outdoors and celebrating life with family and friends. We barbeque, garden, shop for summer fashion, and take road trips. If you live near a beach or can travel to one, summer indicates it’s time to hit the sand and feel the sun on your skin. However, on the flip side, summer can be a dangerous time of the year for you and your family if you fail to take some basic precautions.
Summer Safety for Kids
It’s the season of no school! Generally, kids love the summer. It means playing outside, swimming and spending time with friends. However, it’s important to set expectations for outside play, including:
- Drinking the appropriate amount of water and taking water along when going outdoors
- Applying sunscreen and immediately treating sunburn
- Setting check-in times and parameters for play
Pre-hydrating is also a big help. Try asking your child to drink a cup of water before they go out to play.
If you live in an area with dangerous wildlife or poisonous plants, make sure to review the flora and fauna to avoid to prevent bites and rashes.
Summer Safety for the Elderly
Senior citizens are at elevated risk of health problems during the summer due to the heat. If you’re helping a senior citizen this summer, make sure you leave their sunscreen in an accessible place that’s easy to remember, like on a table by the door.
Many medications cause negative side effects when the patient has prolonged exposure to sunlight. Make sure you review those side effects with the senior taking the meds so they are aware.
Many seniors are also frugal and don’t want to risk a high electric bill. However, safety is nothing to mess with. Everyone in affected areas should use air conditioning during the summer. If you get protests, suggest setting the air conditioning to above room temperature at 73 degrees to save a bit of money.
Lastly, seniors should drink 6-8 cups of water per day to stay hydrated. Time outdoors means drinking more water, especially on hotter days.
You can also help senior citizens and kids stay safe by teaching them how to use weather applications or by asking smart devices at home about the temperature. They should take note of heat advisories.
Protect Your Pets: Summer Safety Tips
Are you a fur parent? If so, your favorite furry family member is at risk during the summer months. If you have an outdoor cat, make sure they can get back into your home easily. If you take your dog (or any other pet) with you on a drive, never leave them alone in a parked car.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, temperatures can increase 20 degrees Fahrenheit in only ten minutes in a car. The longer the wait, the higher that number goes. Only bring your pet to places they’re permitted, like most parks, and make sure you always bring water for them to drink, treats in case they manage to wander off, and a leash.
Spending Time Outdoors
Any time you spend outdoors is a time to be mindful of summer temperatures, whether in the garden, at the beach, or watching your kids at the playground. In addition to the other precautions suggested above, make sure you have bug spray when you’re outside. This discourages mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects that potentially carry dangerous diseases.
Summer Safety and the Work Commute
If you commute to work by car, you probably don’t think too much about your summer work commute, but the truth is, failure to consider it could result in an emergency in case of a malfunction. Always ensure:
- Your cell phone is charged and has a way to charge in the car in case of an accident
- Your car has a first aid kit
- You have emergency bottled water (which you should replace regularly)
- You wear sunglasses while driving in bright conditions
You should also wear sunscreen on your arms, neck, face and any other exposed area above the waist while driving to protect these areas from developing skin cancer and just protecting your skin from signs of aging. While many cars have UV protection in the windows and dashboard, it won’t fully help you stay safe in the sun. Even your 15-30 minute lunchtime walk can lead to trouble if you don’t use sunscreen. If you don’t like wearing sunglasses, consider switching to contact lenses with UV protection to protect your eyes.
If you work outdoors or spend part of your workday outside, make yourself aware of the signs of heat exhaustion, follow workplace safety requirements (like OSHA standards), stay hydrated, and understand your rights as a worker.
Many individuals, especially parents of young children or caretakers of aging parents, forget to take care of themselves during the busy summer months. Please don’t forget that the above summer safety tips also apply to you. Save your skin, stay hydrated, and enjoy all the season has to offer.
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