Summer means some of life’s greatest joys: family parties, lazy beach days, long trips with loved ones, and mouthwatering barbecues. But the sunny season is also a time of increased risks. From dangerously high temperatures to dehydration and vacation mishaps, seasonal dangers should not be ignored. Let’s review some potential problems and learn how you can take action to keep summer as blissful as possible.
Pool Safety: Every year brings tragic cases of unsupervised children who drowned in private or community pools. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 350 children under the age of five drown in pools each year, with the majority of the deaths occurring in June, July, and August in backyard pools. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury and death among children ages 1 to 4, according to the CDC. The problem is growing, likely because of distracted adults scrolling on cellphones.
What to do?
Experts recommend a pool fence for your backyard pool, a 4-foot barrier a child cannot climb. Lockable with a key, it prevents children who wander into the pool area from accidentally drowning.
Consider appointing a “water watcher” to keep a sharp eye on children at the pool. This may be especially helpful when friends gather for fun times that include alcohol. The designated watcher should remain sober and focused on the kids. There are also bracelet devices that kids can wear which will emit a loud alarm if they get wet.
Road Rage: Hot temperatures make us uncomfortable, leading to irritability and lashing out. 30 percent of road deaths for the year occur during the summer period. Dangers on the road are made more deadly due to heat fatigue and vacation-time alcohol use. There are also more drivers on the road during the summer, road-tripping or attending the higher number of events and leisure activities at hand.
What to do?
Leon James, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare, recommends noticing the triggers for your road anger. If you are used to blaming the person in front of you and becoming furious, you could practice developing empathy for other drivers. Perhaps, he or she is dealing with other unreliable drivers.
Leave for your destination a bit earlier than usual so you can stick to the speed limit. Driving at a moderate speed can be the difference between life and death.
Drive sober and alert. Apart from all the other risks of driving under the influence, alcohol can make you feel more uncontrollable rage.
Importantly, with the ever increasing amount of firearms available in certain areas, coupled with loosened licensing and concealment laws, you never know what someone has in their vehicle, or how short their fuse is.
Sun and High Temperatures: Extreme heat sends more than 65,000 Americans to the emergency room annually, according to the (CDC). Heatstroke, the most severe form of dehydration, occurs when internal temperature rises to dangerously high levels and the body is unable to cool down. The skin gets hot, but the person stops sweating. Someone with heat stroke may pass out, hallucinate, or have seizures. Illnesses based on heat are not the only sun-related dangers.
A sunburn increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Your risk for melanoma doubles if you have had just five sunburns in your life. Plus, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can increase the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and sunspots, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What to do?
To prevent heatstroke, seek out air-conditioned environments on especially hot days. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water; take regular breaks in the shade; and try to schedule the most vigorous outdoor activities for times when the heat is not so strong, such as early morning or late afternoon.
Slow down and adjust your work and activity schedules to keep cool during midday, when the sun is the strongest. If you start feeling sick, don’t ignore the signs. Seek shade, rest, and drink.
Make sunscreen a daily habit, whether the sun is shining or not. A water-resistant sunscreen SPF 30 or higher is best.
Although summer brings unique risks, it is filled with many more pleasures to make up for them. Staying aware and safe means you can take advantage of the season when “the livin’ is easy.” Enjoy the hot summer and keep your cool!