Summer is right around the corner. It’s a time when families have a new routine. With kids out of school and long days spent outdoors, it’s an exciting time for everyone. But summertime isn't all fun and games. Warm-weather hazards can put you and your family in harm’s way.
On the Road Again
With school out for summer, many teens will be spending more time on the road—and they’re more likely to travel longer distances with passengers in their cars.
John Ulczycki, vice president of the National Safety Council (NSC), told Healthline that nearly 1,000 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers in 2012. In fact, summertime is such a dangerous season for teen drivers that NSC calls it the “100 deadliest days.”
“There's really no other period of time where you have fatalities at that level,” Ulczycki said. Don’t let your kids become a statistic. Talk with your teen about what it means to be a safe driver.
The Temperature’s Rising
Your body produces perspiration to help cool you down, but if it’s really hot outside, perspiration may not do the job. As temperatures increase, make sure to drink plenty of water, and limit your time outside to prevent heat stress or heat stroke.
Heat can be dangerous, especially for the elderly. It’s important to check on the senior members of your family, as well as neighbors, to make sure they’re staying cool and are well hydrated.
Children are also prone to heat-related injuries. Leaving a child in a car, even for a minute, can be a serious health hazard. “I think parents underestimate the heat that can be generated in a car in a very short period of time,” said Ulczycki. “Two minutes in a hot, closed car can be really hazardous, if not fatal, for a small child.”
Avoid Bug Bites
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since 1999, more than 16,000 people have become seriously ill due to West Nile virus, a disease spread by mosquitoes.
Lauren Peccoralo, M.D., a primary care doctor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, advises use of a mosquito repellent with at least 20 percent DEET.
Helmets Save Lives
Before you let your children out the door, make sure they’re taking the proper precautions. Whether it’s on a bike, a skateboard, or a scooter, both Ulczycki and Peccoralo are adamant about kids wearing helmets.
Hitting one's head from a fall could result in a traumatic brain injury. Make sure your child wears a helmet, and set a good example by wearing one yourself.
“Kids are going to get injured doing kid things, running around and falling down,” said Ulczycki, adding, “[but] falling off a bike without a helmet on and hitting your head could be a life-changing event. Head injuries are a really serious issue.”
Don’t Swim Alone
Children should be monitored at all times when they’re around water. Even adults who consider themselves good swimmers should always bring a buddy to the pool.
According to the CDC, between 2005 and 2009, there were more than 3,500 drownings, which translates to about 10 deaths per day.
“Always swim in an area where there’s a lifeguard present,” advised Peccoralo. “Even adults shouldn't swim alone. Let’s say you hit your head by accident. You’re alone—no one can help you.”