Today marks the official “first day of summer”! In preparation of July being National Safety Month and the beginning of summer, here are some safety tips to keep in mind. For many Americans, summer means fun in the sun; however, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) cautions that summer also is the time of year consumers are most likely to be injured. These facts and safety tips are to keep your summer fun, enjoyable, and safe.
- Studies proved that riders with helmets had an 85 percent reduction in their risk of head injury and an 88 percent reduction in their risk of brain injury. When biking, skating, skateboarding, and riding scooters, all-terrain vehicles, and horses, wear a helmet and other safety gear.
- Each year, 80,000 Americans require hospital treatment for lawn mower accidents. The majority of those accidents are associated with children under the age of 15 and adults over the age of 60. The most common injuries are strikes by debris that is picked up and thrown by the mower’s spinning blades. When mowing, keep small children out of the yard, turn the mower off if children enter the area, and never carry children on a riding mower. If the lawn has angles or hills, use a walk-behind mower across the slopes and a riding mower up and down. Never drive across the slope or use a walk-behind mower up and down.
- Gas grills constitute a higher risk than charcoal grills, with an annual average of 6,900 home fires in 2005-2009. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,100 home fires during the same period. Never bring a charcoal grill inside, it produces deadly carbon monoxide. When cooking outside with a gas grill, check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects or food grease. Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. If there happens to be a leak, immediately turn off the gas tank and do not attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed.
- Falls cause 60 percent of playground injuries. Make sure your home playground is safe by using at least 9 inches of wood chips or mulch. Concrete, asphalt, or packed dirt surfaces are too hard.
- Each year, more than 830 children ages 14 and under die as a result of unintentional drowning. If you have a pool, know that four-sided isolation fencing pools prevent 50 percent to 90 percent of childhood drownings and near-drownings. Door alarms, pool alarms, and automatic pool covers add extra protection when used properly. It is estimated that from 1999 to 2003, 85 percent of boating-related drownings could have been prevented if the person had been wearing a flotation device. Also, 62 percent of children ages 14 and under who drowned in reported recreational boating accidents were not wearing life jackets.
- Protect yourself and children from the sun. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply often. Also, use sunscreen with a sun protectant factor (SPF) of at least 15. The best protection is a combination of sunscreen and protective clothing, including hats, sunglasses, and loose fitted clothing.
- When spending a lot of time in the sun, watch out for signs of heat dehydration, especially in children. Signs include: thirst, fatigue, irritability, dry mouth, and feeling hot.
For more information visit www.nsc.org.