Keep Your Cool. It’s the #FirstDayOfSummer.

By Karen Butz de Leon, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

Summer months are upon us, and so are the outdoor plans we’ve been making since the end of the holiday season. Such as heading to amusement parks, swimming at the lake/beach/pool, hiking or simply having a barbecue in our back yard (and this year we will actually commit to most of them before fall arrives unlike all of the past summers, right?) In order to truly have a memorable and fun summer with your family and friends, don’t get caught unprepared and be sure to follow the health and safety tips below:

Water Safety– Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States, and the leading cause for young children ages 1 to 4
o Never swim alone, always have a buddy- even if you’re a skilled swimmer!
o Always supervise children when in or around water
o Enroll children in swimming lessons
o Learn CPR (to the tune of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gee’s), you can save someone’s life! (Check the CPR page for more info)

Michael Scott of The Office learns CPR to the beat of Stayin' Alive.
Michael Scott of The Office learns CPR to the beat of Stayin’ Alive.

Stay Cool in the Summer– Anyone can get sick from heat related illnesses. Prevent the body’s temperature to be overloaded, and remember, just a few serious sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer
o Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes
o Never leave children or pets in a parked car
o Plan outdoor activities during the coolest times of the day (Morning and evening)
o Stay cool with cool showers and baths
o Apply sunscreen with at least 15 SPF consistently
o Seek medical care if you or your child have symptoms of heat-related illnesses

• Prevent injuries – Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries
o Supervise young children at all times around fall hazards, such as stairs and playground equipment
o Use stair gates, which can help keep a busy, active child [or an adult (me) at Six Flags just last weekend, true story] from taking a dangerous tumble
o Learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs
o Make sure kids and teens wear the right protective equipment for their sport or recreation activity.

• Barbecue Right- Be careful! When you play with fire, you can get burned
o Grills are for outside use only- use in a well-ventilated area
o Wear safe clothes (nothing that hangs that can catch on fire) and flame-retardant mittens
o Never leave grill unattended once lit
o Be ready to extinguish flames (or pretend to, if your food doesn’t turn out good). Have a fire extinguisher handy

These are just a few of the safety tips to follow in order to have fun and be safe, which may make all of the difference during your summer. Make the best of it and please visit the Red Cross Safety Page or download our app for more information!

"Beach Games"
“Beach Games”
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