Advice Independent Living

Summer Safety

Couple enjoying the beach
01
Jun '21

Summer has arrived, along with its ample opportunities for fun at the beach, in the pool or in your own backyard, but summer does bring its share of hazards.

Whether you are heading out on vacation or enjoying the sunny weather at home, here are some steps you can take to keep yourself — and your loved ones — safe this summer.

Avoid Heat-Related Problems

The summer heat can exacerbate and cause many health issues, including heatstroke. As the mercury climbs, avoid heavy work or exercise outdoors. Seniors, especially, are advised to stay out of the direct sun and drink ample fluids to stay hydrated.

If you are heading to a cookout, be aware that many foods left out in the heat can become contaminated quickly and cause food poisoning. To avoid a trip to the emergency room, keep all perishable foods refrigerated.

Stay Safe Around Water

No one should swim alone, and children should be supervised at all times when they are around water. If you have a backyard pool, make sure it is protected with a sturdy fence and gate that young children and grand children, who may be visiting, cannot open. Never swim in areas that are off-limits, and avoid diving into water of unknown depth.

Watch for Physical Hazards

Many people suffer injuries due to the unique physical hazards present during summer. For example, use caution when opening windows; pushing on the glass may result in lacerations to your hand and forearm.

When you mow the lawn, be sure any sticks, rocks and other potential projectiles are cleared away, and be sure you are up to date on your tetanus immunization if you will be gardening. Wear goggles and other protective clothing when engaging in dangerous jobs, and avoid walking around barefoot, even in your own yard.

Take Special Care with Pets

Extreme heat and humidity can pose dangers for pets, so be sure to keep your furry family members out of the sun. Provide plenty of cool, clean water, and consider reducing animals’ food intake on the hottest days.

Use caution when walking your pet on cement or asphalt, which can burn paws in the summer heat. If the sidewalk feels too hot to your hand, then it is too hot for your pet. Watch for signs of heat illness — including significant drooling and rapid heart rate — and be sure to protect your pet against fleas and ticks.

Camp Carefully

If you plan to park your RV or pitch a tent at a campground this summer, use special care. Do not retire at night with a campfire still burning, and be sure to check your shoes in the morning for spiders and other potentially dangerous pests.

Keep any leftover food in the car — away from where you plan to sleep — to avoid attracting wild animals.

Travel Safely

Whether you are hiking, cycling or driving, it is important to follow the rules of the road. When hiking or riding your bike, stick to known trails and paths to avoid getting lost. Make sure you are visible to motorists by using reflective gear, wear your helmet when biking, and take along sunscreen, bug repellent and plenty of water. Avoid becoming distracted by your smartphone no matter how you travel.

Before you hit the road for a car trip, have your vehicle serviced in advance, and always use your seat belt. Be sure to distribute the weight of luggage evenly to avoid dangerous shifts in transit, and keep your view clear. Bear in mind that heavier vehicles take longer to stop, so pack only what you really need.

Wherever you go — or do not go — this summer, have fun and stay safe.

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