Safety First: Summer Safety Tips
Summer isn’t over yet! In fact, this year, the official first day of fall is September 22. There is still the potential for another heat wave – and maybe even an Indian summer later this year in some parts of the country. *COUGH* Ontario *COUGH*. Remember: safety first. But what’s the best way to stay safe? We asked our resident health and safety expert, Jason Berman, Adecco Canada’s National Manager of Workers’ Compensation, Safety & Compliance, to provide you with some summer safety tips guaranteed to ensure continued fun in the sun!
Hopefully by this point, most people are aware of how important sunblock is. (Just one bad sunburn when you’re a kid can double your chances of melanoma later in life!) Be sure that you’re slathering on at least SPF 30 and reapplying every couple of hours.
Water safety includes everything from watching your footing around pools to CPR and everything in between. Here are some specific summer safety tips for when you’re getting wet and wild.
- Watch your step – Mom wasn’t kidding when she told you not to run by the pool. Slips around pools and waterslides can cause serious injury and are all too common every summer.
- Keep your eye on the kids – Never leave your child unattended around water.
- Provide swimming lessons – Knowing how to swim reduces the risk of drowning by as much as 88% among children ages one to four, who are also at the highest risk of drowning. However, even if they’ve received formal swimming lessons, constant supervision is still a must.
- Swim with your kids – Even if there are lifeguards around, the best way to ensure you child’s safety is to be in the water with them.
- Use the Buddy System – Regardless of your age, always swim with someone else.
- Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – In the time it might take for lifeguards or paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
- Fence off pools – Prevent children from gaining access to your pool by putting up proper barriers. That means it should be at least four feet high and have a self-closing, self-latching gate that opens outward. Also, the latch should be out of children’s reach.
- Heed warning flags – At beaches, there are various warning flags you should know the meaning of. These flags were created by the International Life Saving Federation and it’s best to look them up before you head out.
- Know the terrain – Be aware of and avoid drop-offs and hidden hazards at natural water sites, and always enter the water feet first.
- Avoid rip currents – If you see discoloured, choppy, foamy, and/or debris-filled water, particularly if the debris is moving away from shore, there may be rip currents present. Avoid such areas. But if you do get caught in a rip current, start swimming parallel to the shore. Once free, swim back towards the shore diagonally.
- Use approved life jackets – Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe. Make sure you use certified life jackets.
- Don’t drink – Avoid consuming alcohol before and during swimming, boating, water skiing, or any other water activity. The same goes for if you’re supervising children.
- Don’t hyperventilate – It is wrongly believed that hyperventilating before entering the water will allow you to hold your breath longer. It doesn’t. What it can do is make you pass out – an experience termed “shallow water blackout”. And you don’t want that happening underwater.
The Great Outdoors
Who doesn’t love visiting nature in the summer? Regardless of whether you’re camping, hiking, or on any other kind of adventure, make sure to bring ample supplies, a good map, and a way to communicate should you become lost or injured.
Bugs and other pests
A bug repellent can shoo away most of those annoying critters. However, always check to see if the repellant you’re buying contains DEET. If it does, don’t use it on infants or young children as it can be toxic to them.
If you’re planning a summer road trip, make sure your car is fully serviced and ready to roll before you hit the road. Check all fluids, ensure tires are at the right pressure, keep a map or GPS handy, and have a cell phone charger in your car in case of emergencies.
If you’re visiting a playground with little ones, do a quick check of the equipment to ensure that there are no loose ropes, nails, or anything else that could be dangerous. Find a playground with a softened ground area (such as rubber mats, woodchips, etc.) to prevent injury from a fall.
‘Tis the season for bikes, skateboards, and scooters, so be sure you and the kids wear your helmets.
Eat with care
If you’re having a cookout, be sure all food is thoroughly grilled before serving it. Keep perishables in an ice chest that’s plenty cold so that they don’t spoil, and take care to thoroughly wash all fresh fruits and veggies.
Pay attention to how much time you’re spending in the heat. Watch for signs of exhaustion, especially among children and the elderly, Headaches, nausea, and general weakness can all be signs of heat stroke.
This is one of those summer safety tips one should follow no matter what. Wherever you’re going and whatever you’re doing, always take water with you in the summertime.