There are summertime safety tips for anything and everything in the Sunflower and Show Me States. Due to the unique geographic location of Kansas and Missouri, there is a little bit of it all; severe weather, excessive heat, and exposure to noxious plants and bugs. Keep reading for summertime safety tips for sun, water, car related heat stroke, and of course, noxious plants and bugs.
Be Sun Safe: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer as a direct result of exposure to the UV rays mainly in sunlight, but also, man-made sources such as tanning beds. The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays and are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. While UVB rays are the main culprit of sunburns, it is important to apply a broad spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB rays), SPF 30 (or higher) sunblock 30 minutes prior to going outside and every two (2) hours after. Reapply. Reapply. Reapply. Being sun safe also involves preventing heat-related illnesses by avoiding strenuous physical activities during hot weather, staying hydrated, and dressing appropriately for the weather.
Be Water Safe: Accidental drownings are the leading cause of death for children ages one to four, and three children die each day as a result. Water safety begins with establishing pool or other open water rules. Children should be supervised by an adult, distraction-free, at all times while in or near the water. Inexperienced swimmers should wear appropriate life floatation vests and should never swim alone. Adults should avoid alcoholic beverages or other substances when in or around swimming pools or natural waters. Other safety tips: Learn CPR. These skills could save someone’s life. If your home has a pool, install a four-sided fence with locking gate to inhibit young children from wandering into the pool area unattended. Many adults and children are afraid of water, which only increases their risk of an accidental drowning. If you know someone like this, encourage them to learn to swim.
Be Car Safe: Heatstroke deaths of children occur every summer and they are undeniably preventable. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 744 children have died due to vehicular heatstroke since 1998. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended, it only takes 10 minutes for the heat to increase inside of your car and become deadly. The same car safety tips apply to pet owners. If your car ride involves stopping and going into a store, it is best to leave your pet at home. When the outside temperature is 80 degrees, the interior of your car increases to 100+ degrees after only 20 minutes, which is deadly to pets.
Another summertime safety tip to be car safe is proper maintenance. Tune-ups, tire checks, and creating a summer emergency roadside kit are all essential during the hot summer months.
Be Plant and Bug Safe: The CDC recently released a report detailing the increase in vector-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, West Nile, and Zika Virus. The occurrence of these viruses has tripled nationwide since 2004, making these summertime nuisances a real threat. Applying a bug spray with DEET will help deter mosquitos, ticks, biting flies etc, but it also important to wear long pants and sleeves if walking through wooded areas or areas with standing water. Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac are also prevalent in Kansas and Missouri. A good pneumonic to remember is, “Leaves of three, let them be,” as well being able to identify each of the plants prior to coming in contact with them.
Summertime is the time for backyard barbecues, late night baseball games, and lazy days. You cannot prevent everything, but you can keep yourself and those you love safe this summer by being prepared with your own list of summertime safety tips.