May - Summertime Safety Tips
Summertime Safety Tips
Spring is "just around the corner." Summer will not be too far behind, so maybe we should look at some safety reminders. Hopefully, they will help us to remain cognizant of dangers that can happen, if we aren't careful. We especially want our children and grandchildren to have a great summer outdoors. If your children and grandchildren are like ours, they are outside from daylight to dark.
- The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission states that an estimated 260 children under the age of five years old drown each year in residential pools and spas. The Commission also estimates that another 3,000 children under age five are treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion accidents each year. Some of these accidents result in brain damage.
- Nationwide, drowning is the fourth leading cause of death to children under five years of age.
- In the "sun" states, like California, Florida and Arizona, drowning is the leading cause of death for kids under age five.
Safe Tips Around Water
- Never leave children unsupervised around water.
- Teach your children to swim, but do not leave them unsupervised.
- Always wear a safety approved life jacket when boating, skiing, jet skiing, or tubing on lakes, ponds, rivers or oceans.
- Warn your children about playing in canals or other fast moving waters.
- Regardless of the level of their swimming ability, don't let the younger kids play around any water unsupervised.
- It's good to childproof your pool area with a fence at least 4 feet high and a gate with a self-latching lock.
- Take the time to learn CPR for extra insurance and having a phone at the pool is another good factor for extra safety.
It is a well-known fact that exposure to the sun puts people at risk for skin cancer and premature aging. Most of that exposure comes during childhood (80% of a person's lifetime sun exposure occurs before they reach 21 years old). Regular use of sunscreen can reduce the risk of skin cancer by almost 78%. There are many sunscreen products on the market now for kids over 6 months old. You should choose one that contains UVA and UVB protection and has a SPF factor of 15 or higher (especially true for kids with light skin). Apply the cream about 30 to 45 minutes before they go out in the sun and reapply every 2 hours or sooner, if they are in the water.
Tips for the Children's Sun Protection
These tips are intended for our children, since we are targeting them for summer protection; however, most of the tips apply to adults as well.
- Wear protective clothing, including a hat and long sleeve shirt and long pants. Most clothing only has a SPF factor of 5-9, so it is still possible to get sun damage with a shirt on.
- Limit exposure to the sun between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the rays are the strongest.
- Utilize good sunglasses to protect the eyes from the UVA and UVB radiation.
- Use the sunscreen even on cloudy days. The sun's radiation will penetrate the clouds and can still cause sunburn.
- Consider purchasing sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium oxide, which physically blocks the sun's radiation. This is especially true for kids with light or sensitive skin.
- Deet lowers the effectiveness of sunscreens so use a product with a higher SPF factor, especially if you are buying a product that has a combination of sunscreen and insect repellant.
Fireworks seem to be a fixture in most Southern states, but I, personally, have never been a fireworks "buff" and would not care if they were outlawed. Fireworks can turn a good cookout or a party into a nightmare. Illegal fireworks are especially dangerous and present substantial risks that can result in deaths, vision impairments, amputations and severe burns. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly recommends that consumers leave the fireworks to the professionals. However, the following are a few tips for your use, if they are legal and you choose to use them:
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fire works.
- If you do allow or use them, read and follow the instructions as they are written.
- Be sure other people are out of the "line of fire" or range before lighting them.
- Ignite the fireworks on a flat surface away from the house, dry leaves or other flammable materials.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned.
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction or a fire.
CARELESS REGARD FOR THE WATER AND SUN
CAN MAKE FOR A DEADLY COMBINATION!
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.