Even when there’s not a worldwide pandemic going on, summer is full of activities that can pose danger. The season, is after all, synonymous with barbecues, fireworks, hitting the pool and getting some sun.
Keeping some summer safety tips handy will arm parents, guardians and even adults on the job with preparedness that comes with peace of mind.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].
There were 3,709 drownings in 2017, more than 12% of which were children age 4 and younger, according to the National Safety Council [NSC].
The NSC statistics indicate that drowning accidents involving children are mostly due to kids falling into a pool or being left alone in a bathtub.
Some tips for drowning accident prevention include:
- Find age-appropriate swim lessons for children,
- Get training in CPR.
- Have a first aid kit on hand, with emergency phone numbers.
- Keep children away from drains and suction fittings.
- Be mindful of all water – rivers and lakes can have undertows.
There were approximately 9,100 fireworks injuries treated in hospitals nationwide in 2018 according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s annual fireworks report. Sixty-two percent of the injuries occurred between June 22 and July 22, and 64% of those injuries were sustained by males. People under 20 accounted for about half of the injuries, and 36% of injuries were to children under 15.
Safety tips from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advise when interacting with fireworks, always have a fire extinguisher or water supply nearby. Only light one firework at a time, and never re-light a “dud” firework.
Additionally, the DHS asks that Hoosiers be mindful of people with PTSD and other conditions. The noise and flashing light can cause a severe stress reaction in neighbors. Don’t forget to think about the pets, as well. Animals have sensitive ears and can be scared or stressed by fireworks sounds.
It’s also a good idea to check the fireworks laws in Indiana. Only people 18 and older can purchase fireworks. They can only be launched on personal property or a designated property, according to DHS. Be sure to check local ordinances in addition to the state law, which may create additional limitations.
In Indiana, fireworks can be set off:
- Year-round from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and 9 a.m. to midnight on state holidays
- 5 p.m. to two hours after sunset June 29-July 3
- 10 a.m. to midnight July 4
- 5 p.m. to two hours after sunset July 5-9
- 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 31
For more specifics on fireworks laws, visit in.gov/dhs/3375.
It’s hard to beat the heat in Indiana, and sometimes staying cool can be crucial for health.
“There is a global trend of warmer than average temperatures. Overexposure to heat can be hazardous, and the humid conditions frequently experienced in Indiana can add to the discomfort and danger of high temperatures,” according to a safety sheet from DHS.
Heat-related illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, according to DHS.
Heat cramps symptoms include an increased body temperature, flushed appearance and muscular spasms in the abdomen or legs. If experiencing heat cramps, move to a shaded area to rest, put cold rags on wrists, neck and face and drink water or a sports drink.
Heat exhaustion is caused when the body has lost water and salt through sweat. If these aren’t replaced, the body may be unable to cool itself. Symptoms include muscle cramps, a rapid or weak pulse, excessive sweating, a temperature over 102 degree Fahrenheit, flushed appearance, nausea or vomiting or feeling faint.
Treat heat exhaustion by taking the same steps as treating heat cramps. If there is no improvement after following treatment, or if the person cannot drink fluids, take them to the emergency room immediately.
Heat stroke is the most severe of the illnesses and occurs when the body can no longer cool itself.
“It is a very serious condition and could possibly result in death if immediate action is not taken,” according to the DHS.
Symptoms include temperature over 103 degrees, nausea or vomiting, a rapid, strong pulse, skin that is flushed, dry and hot to the touch, sweating has usually stopped, possible irrational or belligerent behavior, headache, confusion, and convulsions and/or unconsciousness.
Call 911 and move to a cool place. Remove unnecessary clothing and cool the victim, preferably by immersing up to the neck in cold water, a cold shower or cover the body as much as possible in cold, wet towels. Keep cooling until the body temperature reaches 101 degrees. Monitor breathing and be ready to give CPR if needed.
Do not force the victim to drink liquids, apply rubbing alcohol to the skin or allow victims to take pain relievers or salt tablets.
Whether it be water or firework safety, the No. 1 tool for prevention of injury is preparedness, according to the CDC. Under all circumstances, best practices include limiting distractions, having a first aid kit on hand and being prepared to call 911 in case of an emergency.
Extensive guides with more tips, including insect, playground, bicycle, skateboarding, boating and pedestrian safety are available through NSC at www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer.