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Summer Safety Tips for Your Family

Submitted by on July 28, 2013 – 4:35 pmNo Comment

Summer Safety Tips

Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe this Summer

by Karen Clark

Summer brings a season of backyard barbecues, pool parties and family vacations. Unfortunately, this season also includes an elevated risk for injuries, accidents and mishaps.

Some of the reasons are behavioral — people spend more time swimming, cooking over open flames and taking part in other outdoor activities that potentially expose them to danger — while environmental factors such as higher temperatures also play a role. Causation aside, what you may find most troubling is the increased vulnerability of children at this time of year. It’s estimated that more than 40 percent of emergency room cases involving children take place during the brief window between May and August.

What’s the parent of a North Texas kid to do? The answer lies not in panic but in prevention. Here are a few summer safety tips to make this summer unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Don’t fan the flames

To better understand the threat of house fires, consider some findings from a 2011 statistical report compiled by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Texas Department of Insurance. The 18,212 residential fires reported in 2011 accounted for nearly 18 percent of all fires in Texas that year. Texas house fires caused 625 civilian injuries, 111 civilian deaths and total damages estimated at more than $304 million.

Follow these steps to increase your family’s fire safety this summer:

  • Position your grill a safe distance from your house and any other buildings
  • Make sure your smoke detectors have fresh batteries and that your kitchen has a fully charged fire extinguisher
  • If your family wants to enjoy some fireworks, take them to a public display put on by professionals

Swimming Safety

Last summer, Texas was the tragic backdrop for more than a dozen drownings involving children under the age of 15. Fortunately, safety advocacy groups offer a wealth of information for families looking to swim safely, such as:

  •  Never allow anyone, particularly children, to swim alone or unsupervised
  • Keep your pool fenced, your pool area stocked with safety equipment such as life rings and your hot tub or spa covered and locked
  • Make sure your everyone in your family is a capable swimmer, through experience or instruction or both

You can also check out these water safety tips.

Stay cool in the heat

Summers in Texas can be HOT! In fact, Texas was said to have the hottest summer on record in 2011.

Soaring temperatures and stifling humidity can set the stage for dehydration, heat exhaustion and other hazards. Here are some things you can do to help your family stay cool this summer:

  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities whenever temperatures approach or pass 90 degrees
  • Drink plenty of fluids so that your body has enough moisture to adequately regulate your temperature
  • Stay away from tight-fitting, heavy and dark-colored clothing — and make sunblock an everyday fixture of your summer wardrobe

Don’t forget about home, safe home

During the summer months, there is a higher risk for burglary. As you’re planning a vacation or weekend getaway, follow these guidelines to keep your home safe and secure while you’re away:

  • Arrange for someone — a neighbor, friend or relative — to stop by your home periodically and keep an eye on things
  • Program an electric timer or home automation system to turn lights on and off at different times so that the house appears occupied
  • Make sure that no one in the family (kids included) has announced your travel plans on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Unscrupulous characters have been known to use this information to plan break-ins.

Remember these tips and you’ll help your family make it through through the lazy, crazy hazy — and sometimes hazardous— days of summer unscathed.

Karen Clark writes about safety, crime prevention and home security for

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