Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tips for a Safe Texas Summer

Written by Natalie Horn, volunteer contributor

For many Texans, summer conjures up images of backyard barbeques, pool parties and days spent at one of the many beautiful lakes in Texas. However, summer fun also comes with some inherent safety risks. 

Good news is you can prevent illness, injuries and trips to the emergency room this summer by following these simple, yet important safety tips.

1. Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of cold fluids and water on hot days, especially when exercising. Avoid drinks with sugar and alcohol as they will cause your body to dehydrate more quickly.

2. Always wear sunscreen when spending time outdoors and re-apply every two hours. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges consumers to look for a sunscreen with an SPF level of at least 30 and “broad spectrum” protection to fight against all forms of cancer-causing ultraviolet rays.

3. Wear a helmet and safety gear when riding a bike, skateboard, scooter, horse or all-terrain vehicle. Studies have shown that the use of bicycle helmets is effective in preventing head injuries.

4. Never leave a child unattended by water. If a child is missing, check the water first because seconds can make a difference in saving a life. Always use the buddy system while swimming- even at a public pool or lifeguarded beach.

5. Wear a life jacket when boating. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the majority of drowning fatalities occur because the victim was not wearing a life jacket. Also, never consume alcohol while operating a boat or any motor-vehicle as it can impair your judgment and coordination.

6. Only use charcoal and propane grills when outdoors and make sure to place them far away from the home, deck railings or any overhanging branches. According to the U.S. Fire Department, the majority of home fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace, patio or balcony.

7. Lastly, prepare yourself by enrolling in a Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid, or CPR/AED course and learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.

Make this summer one to remember- for all the right reasons. For more information on how to stay safe this summer or to enroll in a safety course, visit http://www.redcross.org./

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