Tips for a Safe and Fun Summer
Nothing can ruin a vacation or weekend celebration faster than an injury or accident. Here are some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe during summer activities, from Fourth of July and fireworks celebrations, to water activities and fun in the sun.
Fireworks/July Fourth Safety
- Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees. That is an incredible amount of heat and the sparks flying off them often lead to burns on the hands, arms, face, and eyes. Always help children hold them if you let kids use them and place them in water once they are burned down.
- Don’t drink alcohol and then set off fireworks.
- When lighting fireworks, wear safety glasses and hand protection.
- Read the labels, even if you’ve used the same type of firework in the past.
- Make sure you have a water source nearby and ready for use if needed.
- If you light a firework and it doesn’t go off, don’t try to light it again. Leave it alone for 20 minutes or more and then place it in water.
- When viewing fireworks, wear hearing protection. Babies and small children especially should wear noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs. Placing the ear plugs correctly is just as important because they won’t properly protect your hearing if they aren’t in the right way.
- Never drink and operate a boat. It is illegal and unsafe to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes small vessels such as canoes or kayaks as well as jet skis, right up to large seafaring ships. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
- Always wear a life jacket. No one plans to fall off a boat or to capsize their vessel but it happens and wearing a life jacket can save your life. Children are required by law to wear a life jacket. Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children.
- Know your limits when going paddling. This applies to kayakers, standup paddle-boarders, canoers, etc. Paddling against the wind and/or tide can be more challenging than many paddlers anticipate. Keep apprised of tidal currents and keep a lookout for weather hazards. Stay close to the shore and remember you’ll have to paddle back so save energy for the return trip.
- Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
- Many think they will hear their child splashing or calling for help if he or she is drowning. Often, this is not the case as most drownings are silent. Make sure someone is constantly watching children swimming even in very shallow water.
- Have young children wear a life jacket when playing near the water. A trip into the pool or an unexpectedly large wave could take them by surprise.
- Never dive into a shallow pool or headfirst into waves. It can be very challenging to determine the depth of the ocean floor due to its ever-changing nature. You may be standing in deep water but a foot ahead of you may be a sandbar which could cause a serious neck injury.
- Even when dead, jellyfish can be dangerous. Never touch them, kick them, or let children play with them. It is a myth that urine, seawater, or alcohol can help a jellyfish sting.
- Be aware of the danger of rip currents and make sure children who will be swimming know what to do if they are caught in one. Swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim towards shore. Stay at least 100 feet away from piers or jetties because there are often rip currents in those areas.
- Wear shoes and ensure that children wear shoes when walking on the sand. It becomes hot enough to burn feet quickly.
- Remember to drink plenty of water regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty while you’re outside in the heat. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Make sure children drink plenty of water.
- Signs of heat stroke include hot or red skin, changes in consciousness, a weak pulse, and rapid or shallow breathing. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911.
- Always wear sunscreen and reapply it every 45 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating. This is especially important for kids older than 6 months. Younger babies should stay in the shade and wear a hat and light clothing.
- Protecting your eyes using sunglasses is important too. Sunglasses for children, babies, and even dogs are available and can protect eyes from damage.
If you have or see an emergency, call 911. For more minor injuries or illnesses, such as sunburns, jellyfish stings, sprains, or colds, visit NHRMC ExpressCare, which is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week at 510 Carolina Bay Drive, Wilmington, off Eastwood Road.