Summer safety tips from the Dept. of Public Health
By Jewel Mullen, MD, MPH, MPA - Commissioner, CT Dept. of Public Health
Feature Article - posted Wed., Jul. 13, 2011
Summertime in Connecticut brings long sunny days, warm weather and school vacations. The season is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities, get exercise, and spend time with family and friends.
Unfortunately, summer activities can also increase the risk of injury. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to prevent injuries and make summer safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Safety on the road
• Buckle up on every trip in the car, even if it’s just a short ride around town.
• Younger children should ride in size- and age-appropriate car safety seats.
• Do not leave children or pets in a parked car – interior temperatures can reach deadly levels in minutes, even during moderate temperatures.
• Wear a bicycle helmet every time you get on a bike. Helmets can reduce your risk of head injury by up to 85 percent in a bicycle crash.
• Wear appropriate multi-sport helmets and safety gear to prevent injuries while skateboarding, inline skating or riding a scooter.
• Supervise younger children and assure that they ride with supervision in safe areas away from traffic.
• Teach your children to look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
• Walk on sidewalks whenever possible, and cross safely using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Watch for cars that are turning or are backing up, especially in driveways and parking lots.
• Wear clothing with reflective materials and carry a turned-on flashlight at dusk and dark.
Safe at play
• Check playground equipment, whether it’s in the backyard or at the park to make sure it is in good condition.
• Playgrounds should have protective surfacing under and around the equipment to protect against falls. This surfacing can include sand, mulch, wood chips, shredded tires, or rubber mats.
• If you or your family plays team sports, be sure to use all of the appropriate safety gear. Learn to recognize the signs of a concussion and seek medical treatment immediately.
Safety in and around water
• An adult should always supervise children in or near water.
• Drowning can occur in minutes and in just a few inches of water. Whenever an infant or toddler is in or near water, an adult should always be within an arm’s length providing “touch” supervision.
• When boating, everyone should wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.
• Take a boating safety course. Go to www.ct.gov/dep for Safe Boating Certificate requirements, course locations and other boating regulations.
• Just as with drinking and driving, alcohol and swimming or boating don’t mix.
• Be ready for emergencies by learning CPR and first aid, and keep a charged phone with you.
Safety around the home
• Falls from windows increase during the summer months and screens will not protect children from falling out.
• Safeguard children by installing window guards or stops, opening windows from the top whenever possible and moving furniture away from windows to discourage climbing.
For more information, please visit www.ct.gov/dph/injury