Being safe and secure starts with having an understanding of the things that pose a genuine risk, and then taking the right precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
While crime is a concern in every community, it’s preventable injury deaths that are at an all-time high in the United States. While prescription drug overdoses, car crashes and falls are the most common causes of preventable death, drowning, fires, choking and excessive heat claim far too many lives as well. Many of us see home as our safe haven, but the vast majority of these incidents happen at home or in our communities.
Taking the time to slow down, put down your phone and enjoy each moment of summer can help you protect yourself and your loved ones. Here are a few key safety issues to consider during the summer months:
1. Fire and Burn Safety
Outdoor cooking can result in burn injuries or fires. By placing outdoor grills well away from buildings and keeping flammable materials a safe distance from cooking sites, the likelihood of a fire is considerably reduced.
Fireworks, meanwhile, pose similar dangers and should only be used by professionals. If you choose to use fireworks, only adults should handle them and should wear protective eyewear. Seemingly benign sparklers burn as hot as 2,000 degrees and account for 20 percent of firework injuries.
2. Swim Safety
Drowning happens quickly and quietly. By the time you look up from your book or phone, it may be too late. Designate an adult to observe children in and near water at all times. Other questions to consider: Would a life jacket make us safer during this activity? Are there lifeguards present at this location? Are there currents, drop-offs or riptides? How could I reach someone who is struggling without putting myself at risk? About 10 people die from drowning every day, so answering these questions in advance can make a difference.
3. Travel Safety
Transportation fatalities tend to increase in the summer months, affecting cars, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. More inexperienced teen drivers are on the roads in the summer months, and construction projects can result in detours, closures and work crews operating only feet away from traffic. All of these variables make focus a necessity.
Among the greatest threats to our focus are cell phones. While mobile devices can help increase your sense of safety and connectedness, they can also be a distraction. Shutting off your phone, or placing it in the trunk or glove compartment, can make you, your passengers and the drivers around you safer.
In each and every one of these settings, the specific dangers are apparent and identifying preventive measures is straightforward. Whether by moving a grill away from a home or just ensuring that everyone rides with bicycle helmets, it’s not difficult to find and take steps to reduce the risks in any given situation.
Becky Turpin, Director of Home & Community, National Safety Council, [email protected]