Have you heard about the shark attacks in the Carolinas? Or the Florida waterspout that carried a bounce house into the air and injured several children? Or the zip line accident in Texas?


The truth is that many accidents can be prevented. According to a National SAFE KIDS Campaign study on unintentional injuries or death, nearly half of childhood deaths occur between May and August, with a spike in July. Knowing a few summer safety tips can ensure that all your family fun memories are good ones. Here’s what you need to know …


When the temperature climbs, people head for the water to cool off. It could be a community pool, a local lake, an ocean or a water park. When playing and swimming, keep these safety tips in mind.
  • Water wings are not life preservers. Water wings can offer a false sense of security for parents, as well as children, however they are not flotation devices. If a non-swimming child is in water, he or she should be wearing a life jacket and be under very close supervision. Keep the little ones in the kiddie pool. A person can drown in just a few inches of water.
  • Watch out for the four “toos.” When at the beach or poolside, get out of the sun and the water if you’re too tired, too cold, too far from safety or too exposed to sun. When people are too “too,” accidents can happen.
  • Know the rules. By a pool the rule might be “no diving” or “no running.” By the ocean it might be “strong rip current – no swimming.” By a lake it might be “beware of drop off.” The buddy system rule is great for teenagers as well as adults. Younger children should be supervised at all times.
  • Beware of sharks. Shark attacks are very rare even though they make the headlines. You can further decrease your chances of becoming a shark victim when you: avoid swimming at dusk or dawn, don’t wear shiny jewelry, and don’t swim if bleeding.

    • Protect your skin. You’ve heard this before, and we’ll say it again: wear sunscreen! Use an SPF of at least 15 and reapply every three hours, or more often if sweating. Sunburns are not only painful, they can lead to skin cancer later in life.
    • Hydrate to avoid sun stroke. Children don’t sweat as much as adults, so they are more prone to over-heating. Signs of heat-related illness include cramps, nausea and pale moist skin. Keeping hydrated can help prevent sun stroke, also called heat stroke. If symptoms develop, get to a cool place, drink water, and place cool cloths on the skin. Serious symptoms such as high fever, fast heart rate, warm and dry skin, confusion, a change in behavior or convulsions means it is time to call 911.


    • Keep an eye on the grill. Whether your favorite grill is gas or charcoal, either one can cause a serious burn for children who may wander too close. Keep the grill away from branches or buildings. Don’t let the grease build up. Make certain children understand that it is very, very hot and potentially dangerous. Vigilance is important.
    • Keep cold foods cold. It’s a myth that mayonnaise can cause food poisoning. It is the bacteria that can grow in a mayonnaise salad that can cause an illness. Bacteria grow best on foods with protein (chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad anyone?) that are at temperatures between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Food shouldn’t be sitting out for long periods of time. Keep it cold as long as possible before wolfing it down.


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