The Independence Day holiday is upon us, bringing fireworks, outdoor cookouts, pool parties and other celebrations. Unfortunately, summer months–particularly July and August–are among the busiest times of the year for emergency room (ER) visits, according to data from UnitedHealthcare. Don’t let an injury steal your Texas sunshine this weekend; follow these basic, everyday safety tips to keep yourself and your family safe and out of the ER.
- Wear protective gear and helmets.
In order to prevent serious injury from falls or accidents, helmets, sturdy shoes and protective gear such as elbow and knee pads should always be worn when using bicycles, skateboards, scooters and in-line skates. Use designated paths or trails whenever possible, and always avoid traffic.
- Limit sun exposure.
The summer sun can cause sunburn, dehydration and even heat stroke, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen before going outdoors. Continue reapplying every two hours. In the case of a heat stroke or exhaustion, be sure to immediately rest in a cool, shaded place and drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids.
- Use insect repellent.
Insect bites can be painful and, for some people, potentially life-threatening. Always apply insect repellent, especially in the evening or when visiting heavily wooded areas, and avoid the use of scented soaps, perfumes and hairspray when going outdoors.
- Keep foods cold.
Make sure all picnic foods are stored in cool places and leftovers are put away promptly. Also wash hands regularly, and keep raw foods separate from cooked foods.
- Never swim unattended.
Always supervise children when they are in or near water. Ensure that life vests are worn when riding on boats or playing in open water, and monitor weather conditions carefully. It’s best to adjust plans if conditions do not allow for safe swimming.
- Stay alert when using power mowers and other outdoor equipment.
Power lawn mowers are some of the most dangerous tools around the home. Avoid injury by wearing sturdy, closed-toe shoes and never let a child ride as a passenger on a riding mower.
- Be a safe camper.
Use the “buddy” system and always camp with at least one companion. Take appropriate camping equipment and supplies, including a complete first aid kit and emergency signaling devices.
Following these tips will help you make the most of your summer festivities while also ensuring your family’s safety.
Happy Independence Day!