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Guide to Summer Safety

Posted Date: 7/4/2014
Hot summer weather continues, and with it comes an assortment of leisure activities as New Yorkers flock 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 you and your family safe and ensure an enjoyable time together,” said Dr. Marshall. “No matter what activity you choose, some simple tips should be followed to avoid accidents and injuries.”

Dr. Marshall shares these summer safety tips:

Sunburn – Prevention is the key: use a sunblock of SPF 30 or greater, and reapply often. Wear a hat with a brim that further shields your face from the sun.

Pools/Beaches – Adults should always be within arm’s reach of children and weaker swimmers. 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. AVOID SMIMMING DURING STORMY WEATHER.

Playgrounds – Always keep children in sight. Jewelry and clothing with drawstrings can get caught on equipment, so dress children appropriately. Be sure they are only playing in the age-appropriate sections of the playground. 

Barbecues – Keep the grill at a safe distance from the house, outdoor furniture and/or shrubbery, to avoid fires. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Keep young children away from the grill and never leave it unattended. NOTE: propane and lighter fluid have heavy fumes which tend to be most concentrated close to the ground – so do NOT leave babies in playpens or at ground level (they can be overcome by fumes before an adult is even aware of the smell). 

Bug Bites – Use insect repellent containing DEET and avoid scented soaps, perfumes and hair products when planning to be outdoors. 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, get to the nearest ER to rule-out an allergic reaction. 

Bicycles – Wear a helmet. Helmets are the primary defense against serious injury. Ride your bicycle in the same direction as traffic. And wear shoes or sneakers! Bare feet, flip-flops or other sandals can impede your ability to brake safely, and expose your feet to injury.

“Of course, 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.”

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