Play it Cool with CareerSafe's Summertime Safety Tips!

It's summertime, and COVID-19 restrictions are starting to be loosened and lifted. If getting out of your house and finally having some fun sounds appealing, you're not alone! However, emergency rooms often see twice the number of injuries and trauma in the summer that they see in the winter—with the most common injuries resulting from car crashes, severe sunburn, water sports, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. 

Although we've just wrapped up National Safety Month, safety is something we should always practice—so let's brush up on some safety skills associated with common summer hazards and make this a "National Safety Summer". 

Water Safety

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), drownings continue to be the second leading cause of preventable death in children under the age of 15, and emergency departments treat about 6,400 pool and spa injuries in this same age group every year. Here are some basic safety precautions to help keep your water fun safe this year:

  • Never swim alone, and swim only in designated swimming areas
  • Learn CPR and rescue techniques
  • Have children or inexperienced swimmers wear US Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water
  • Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard
  • Never drink alcohol when swimming
  • Never swim near a boat, marina, or boat launching ramp
  • Install secure barriers around home pools to prevent young children and pets from falling in
The American Red Cross has more water safety tips, including how to find swim lessons and other water safety courses.

Road Trip Safety

For many Americans, summertime means vacation travel and, although some COVID-related travel restrictions have been lifted, American families are increasingly favoring road trips for their vacations. With that in mind, let's review some summer driving best practices from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Do not leave children or pets unattended in vehicles—vehicle temperatures can rapidly reach deadly levels, and a child's body temperature rises 3-5 times faster than an adult's
  • Before heading out, check weather, road conditions, and traffic
  • When planning longer trips, allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely, including allowances for stops for gas, stretching, food, returning calls/texts, and changing drivers
  • Let others know your route and anticipated arrival time
  • Never drive drowsy or while impaired by any substances
  • Don't text and drive
  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Keep an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle with the following suggested items:

When it comes to driving safely, a little bit of foresight and preparation can save your life this summer!

Grill Safety

Grilling food is so popular that more than three-quarters of U.S. adults have used a grill —yet grilling sparks more than 10,000 home fires on average each year. The American Red Cross offers these grilling safety tips:

  • Always supervise grills when in use
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited
  • Never grill indoors, in a tent, or in any other enclosed area
  • Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill
  • Keep the grill away from houses, decks, tree branches, and anything else that could catch fire
  • Use long-handled grill tools to protect the chef from burns

Heat Safety

​The human body is normally able to regulate its temperature through sweating, unless it is exposed to more heat than it can handle. With excessive heat causing more deaths than all other weather incidents and record-breaking heat already being seen in parts of the US, learning to recognize and protect yourself from heat-related hazards is especially important this summer.

Heat Exhaustion

When the body loses excessive water and salt (usually due to sweating), heat exhaustion can occur. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Sweating
  • Pale, ashen, or moist skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue, weakness, or exhaustion
  • Headache, dizziness, or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
Uncontrolled heat exhaustion can evolve into heat stroke, so as soon as you notice the symptoms, make sure to move to a shaded or air-conditioned area, drink water, and cool yourself off with cool, wet towels or a cool shower. 

Heat Stroke

​Heat stroke is serious and requires immediate medical help. If you notice the below symptoms in someone, call 911, move them to a cool place, remove unnecessary clothing, and cool their body by covering them in cold towels or immersing them up to the neck in cool water:

  • Body temperature above 103 degrees
  • Skin that is flushed, dry, and hot to the touch; sweating has usually stopped
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headache, dizziness, confusion, or other signs of altered mental state
  • Irrational or belligerent behavior
  • Convulsions or unresponsiveness

The best way to avoid heat-related illness is to limit time outdoors during hot days whenever possible, especially during the hottest part of the day, from 11 am - 3 pm. Other best practices include drinking plenty of fluids, wearing loose, lightweight clothing, wearing sunscreen, and pacing yourself when you are exposed to the heat. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has more prevention tips. And if your family includes pets, check out these hot weather safety tips from the ASPCA!

Whatever your plans for this summer, be sure to schedule in time to brush up on your safety skills so you can #StartSafeStaySafe!

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