Health Matters: Safety Tips for a Fun in the Sun Summer
By Dr. Valerie Nemeth
Summer vacation, swimming, cookouts, camp and outdoor fun – there’s no end to the excitement summertime has to offer.
However, some of our favorite activities can pose certain dangers, which is why keeping these safety tips top of mind can help ensure you, your friends and family have a healthy and happy summer!
Whether you’re ready to jump into a pool, head to the water park or hop into a lake, it’s vital that you teach your children to ask permission before going near the water so you can be prepared to watch them. Ideally, a lifeguard should be present in order to assure safe swimming. When a lifeguard isn’t on duty, sticking to the buddy system can be beneficial for both children and adults. This way they can keep an eye on each other and call for help if something goes wrong.
Enrolling younger children in swim classes is another way they can learn about water safety. Not only will lessons teach your child the fundamentals of swimming – skills that will stick with them beyond the summer months – but they’ll also learn how to be safe when they’re in and out of the water. Even with lessons, younger children or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket to help keep afloat.
Water activities aren’t the only ones where we should promote safety. Our favorite land activities have their own safety tips to follow. Biking is a popular hobby in the summer months and always wearing a helmet is another great practice this summer to stay safe. When riding a bike or scooter, a helmet can help protect you from receiving a serious head injury in the event of a fall.
In order to make sure a helmet properly protects your head, it should be snug, level and stable so that the back of the head and forehead are protected. Be sure to choose a helmet that fits you or anyone you are shopping for now, not one to grow into. You should also check to make sure your current helmet isn’t too small.
If camping this summer, practicing campfire safety in the backyard or the campground can keep everyone healthy and safe. Of course, you should never play with matches, lighters or other flammable liquids, and you should always use proper safety techniques during a campfire. Some of these include keeping a bucket of water nearby, only putting wood in the fire, sitting a safe distance away and, above all, never leave a campfire unattended. An adult should supervise a campfire at all times.
Campfires aren’t the only flames to worry about during the summer. Firework displays and sparklers are extremely popular during the summer, especially as we celebrate the Fourth of July. If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burns and eye injuries in kids and adults. If you’re ready to watch brilliant firework displays, leave lighting fireworks to the professionals and watch from a safe distance away. If you’re at home and looking for a great substitute for fireworks or sparklers, glow sticks can be just as festive.
It is easy to let our guard down during the summer months as we travel, try new activities and take advantage of time to rest and relax, but that isn’t always a good thing when it comes to safety. Being prepared can help you reduce safety risks by staying alert and aware, taking any necessary precautions and sharing these important safety tips with your family and friends. With these tips, you can help keep your family safe while enjoying all the fun summertime can bring.
*Valerie Nemeth, DO, is a board-certified family medicine physician for Mercy Health – Vermillion Primary Care. She received her medical degree from the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency at Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio.