During warm weather, thousands of New Yorkers are flocking to beaches, pools, playgrounds and backyard barbecues. Dr. John Marshall, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center, offers a variety of strategies for safely navigating these cherished activities.
“It’s important to take proper precautions this summer to keep yourself and your family safe and ensure an enjoyable time together,” said Dr. Marshall. “No matter what activity you choose, some basic tips should be followed to avoid accidents, injuries and sickness.”
Dr. Marshall shares these summer safety tips:Pools/Beaches – Adults should always be within arm’s reach of children and weaker swimmers. Swimmers should always use the buddy system and never swim alone. Never run around a pool – always walk. Do not dive into shallow water. Rescue equipment should be easily accessible. Always follow the instructions of lifeguards. Wear swim shoes to reduce your risk of foot injury and infection. Avoid swimming during stormy weather.
Sunburn – Prevention is key: use a sunblock of SPF 30 or greater, and reapply often. Wear a hat with a brim that shields your face from the sun.
Pools/Beaches – Adults should always be within arm’s reach of children and weaker swimmers. Swimmers should always use the buddy system and never swim alone. Never run around a pool – always walk. Do not dive into shallow water. Rescue equipment should be easily accessible. Always follow the instructions of lifeguards. Wear swim shoes to reduce your risk of foot injury and infection. Avoid swimming during stormy weather.
Playgrounds – Always keep children in sight. Ensure that all surfaces under playground equipment are safe and cushioned. Jewelry and clothing with drawstrings can get caught on equipment, so dress children appropriately. Be sure they are only playing in age-appropriate sections of the playground.
- Barbeues – Keep the grill at a safe distance from the house, outdoor furniture and/or shrubbery, to avoid fires. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Never leave the grill unattended. Keep young children at a safe distance away from the grill. NOTE: propane and lighter fluid create heavy fumes which tend to be most concentrated close to the ground. Do NOT leave babies in playpens or at ground level, as they can be overcome by fumes before an adult is even aware of the smell.
- Bug Bites – Use insect repellant containing DEET to protect you and your family from disease-carrying insects. Avoid scented soaps, perfumes and hair products when planning to be outdoors. To diminish the mosquito population around your house, remove any stagnant water, especially after rain. If you get stung, gently remove a visible stinger with sterile tweezers, and disinfect the skin surface. An ice-pack can relieve the pain and itch. NOTE: If swelling becomes significant or you get short of breath and/or any other symptoms, go to the nearest ER to rule-out an allergic reaction.
- Biking/Skating – Wear a helmet. Helmets are the primary defense against serious injury. Wearing protective gear including elbow, knee and wrist protectors help to reduce the risk of injury. Ride your bicycle in the same direction as traffic. Avoid skating on busy streets, sidewalks and intersections. Do not skate on wet or uneven surfaces. Wear closed shoes or sneakers. Bare feet, flip-flops or other sandals can impede your ability to brake safely, and expose your feet to injury.
“Even when taking precautions, accidents can happen at any time,” says Dr. Marshall. “If you or someone you know has sustained a significant injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible.”
Maimonides Medical Center is Brooklyn’s pre-eminent healthcare provider and a recipient of the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence. Widely recognized for its major achievements in advancing medical and information technology, Maimonides has 711 beds and over 70 subspecialty programs. For additional information on the nationally recognized clinical services at Maimonides Medical Center, please visit www.maimonidesmed.org.