Ensuring summertime safety takes special precautions

Friday, May 20, 2016

Summer's supposed to be a fun time as kids and families take advantage of free time to get outdoors to vacation, play organized and improvised sports and enjoy the warm weather.

But it can also be a dangerous time for unsupervised kids and adults who overdo it or indulge in risky behavior.

The most obvious possibility for harm is travel, which resulted in 18 fatalities in 16 crashes during April, according to data collected by the Nebraska Department of roads.

Eight of the 13 vehicle occupants killed were not using safety belts, five happened on non-interstate highways and 13 on local roads.

Two occurred in rural locations, two were pedestrians, three were motorcyclists and one involved a vehicle colliding with a train.

ATVs are a common useful vehicle on farms and ranches as well as for recreational use, but they can also be dangerous if not operated properly.

Free youth ATV training is taking place at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds on Saturday, and again June 8 in Imperial. Space is limited, so call (308) 535-3678.

The same goes for motor boats and personal water craft; anyone born after Dec. 31, 1985, is required to successfully complete a Boating Safety Course and possess a certificate while operating a boat or personal watercraft. Visit http://bit.ly/20fhZ2A to find a class.

But you don't have to be moving to be in danger, according to health officials.

Be careful when grilling out or going on a picnic to avoid food poisoning like salmonella, E.coli O157:H7 and norovirus.

Wash up with soap and water, thaw meat in a refrigerator or cool water bath instead of on the counter.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and don't reuse utensils or dishes. Use a mixture of 3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water to clean surfaces like cutting boards or countertops before using them again.

Don't use the same platter for raw and cooked meats, and transport raw meat separately from other foods and double-wrap it to keep it from dripping.

Don't wait to be sunburned before applying sunscreen of at least SPF 30, and pay special attention to your face, nose, ears and shoulders. And, pay special attention to protecting infants and children.

Remember to avoid leaving kids and pets in parked cars.

Better yet, wear full coverage when possible, including a sun hat, sunglasses with UV protection and lip balm.

Avoid overloading the body's temperature control system, which can occur with temperatures of 90-plus degrees and humidity levels of 40 percent or more.

Drink plenty of water and don't wait until you are thirsty to drink , avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine, wear loose, light-colored clothing. Take frequent rest breaks to cool off in hot weather, or limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

The Zika virus is a new mosquito-related threat, joining ticks as a reason for caution. Wear an FDA-approved insect repellent such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535.

It's also a good idea to wear solid shoes and socks and even tuck your pants into your socks to avoid ticks.

Check out more kids summer safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://1.usa.gov/1rYZJj3

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