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How To Protect
Your Family From
Summer Season Dangers

by Julie Joyce

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Summer is an exciting time of year. With the kids out of school your family has the opportunity to enjoy an abundance of warm weather activities. Your plans may include: a vacation; camping; swimming; picnics; barbecues; and other fun summertime events.

However, summer fun can easily turn into summer injury. Many summer season activities pose unique dangers and safety risks. With careful planning, safety awareness and preventive measures you can help your family to have a fantastic and safe summer.


Children are playing everywhere and can be easily obscured from view. Be extra careful when driving through neighborhoods. Find safe play areas for your children that are not adjacent to any traffic zones. And as you load the kids into the car for all the activities, make sure ALL of your precious cargo is protected by a seat belt. Children under 8 years old should be in an age appropriate car seat or booster seat.

Despite the dangers, warnings, and legal restrictions some parents think it's a good idea to buy fireworks for their kids to provide a "fireworks show" at home. Every year children and adults suffer burns, vision damage, hearing damage and limb injury due to fireworks. Fireworks are also the cause of thousands of fires. The safest fireworks shows (and the most dramatic) are the ones that are done by professionals. Most local municipalities or fire departments offer (4th of July) fireworks shows, for free. Enjoy the show, without the danger.

Wash hands before handling any food, especially at picnics and barbecues. Protect food, plates and utensils, from cross contamination.

When playing outdoors you need to guard against the heat, the sun, disease carrying bugs and accidental injuries. Make sure all outside play or sports activity is monitored to protect your children from dehydration and heat exposure. Rest and water breaks should be planned and taken.

Guard against accidents by wearing appropriate protective gear for the activity. Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, etc. should be used when bicycling, skating, skateboarding, etc.

West Nile Virus (WNV) has now become an endemic disease in most of the U.S. WNV is spread exclusively by mosquitoes. Only 20% of those infected with WNV show any symptoms. However about 1% of those infected experience very serious life threatening conditions. Insect repellents can guard against mosquito bites. Choose from Soybean based, citronella based or deet repellents. Follow directions carefully to make sure your product choice is appropriate for your family. Also minimize skin exposure from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Ticks also carry diseases such as Lyme disease. When in wooded areas guard your skin. Cover as much of your body as possible and apply tick insect repellent to your clothing.

Protect eyes and skin from dangerous ultraviolet rays. Make sure you choose sunglasses that provide UV protection. Babies under 6 months should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Children should be lathered up with waterproof sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 25-30. Apply about 30 minutes before going out. Reapply after swimming, after sweating, and after 2 hours.

Summer is all about water activities. Whether you're having fun in your backyard, swimming at a public pool or beach, SUPERVISION is the key to safety. It only takes a few minutes and a bucket of water for a baby to drown. Never leave children in/at a swimming area unattended. Children (and adults) should never swim alone.

A life vest or other appropriate water flotation equipment should be worn by your little "swimmers." Swim shoes also provide important foot protection, especially at public water facilities.

Only allow your family to swim in water areas that are approved and safe for swimming. Many beach areas will post warnings if dangerous undercurrents or other water conditions would make swimming especially dangerous. Heed these warnings. It is also important to take notice of lifesaving assistance in the swim area. Are there lifeguards on duty?.....just in case. Do you know infant-child CPR?...just in case.

Your home pool should be especially secure to not only protect your family and guests but also to protect neighborhood children who make "sneak" into the pool when you are not home. Children are naturally curious, and could easily drown in an unsupervised pool. Secure your pool (and outdoor hot tubs) and restrict access, whenever you cannot supervise.

Barbecue carefully. Children should never be in cooking areas, indoors and outdoors. Children should also not be in the yard while grass cutting or fertilizing.

About the Author: Julie Joyce is a Child and Family Safety Expert, committed to teaching parents how to protect their kids from a variety of dangers. She is the Editor of and the "Safe Kids Report" newsletter. Parents can access F-r-e-e Child ID Kits and other f-r-e-e family safety resources, at:

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