As the end of May draws closer, everyone anxiously awaits the arrival of the Memorial Day holiday to enjoy a three-day weekend relaxing with family and friends barbequing ala beachside to kick-off the start of the summer season. But holidays can pose a safety risk to many. The most dangerous holidays in terms of injuries is the five-day period surrounding Labor Day, followed by Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Halloween.
Silver Cross Hospital encourages families to follow these tips to start the summer off safely.
Hitting the Road
With millions of people starting the summer season by taking a road trip, the AAA recommends these travel tips:
- Buckle up. “Buckle up and make sure that children are properly secured in child safety seats,” says Dr. Daniel Checco, D.O., Medical Director for the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center in Homer Glen. “These easy steps greatly increase your odds of surviving and reducing injuries if a crash occurs.”
- Never leave your child alone in the car. Cars can get up to baking hot temperatures in just a few minutes in warm weather — even with the window open a crack. Children should never be left alone in a car, even for a few minutes.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Drowsy drivers can be as dangerous as drunk drivers, so be sure to get a good night’s sleep before you take a long road trip.
Don’t drink and drive. Never drive while impaired.
- Do a pre-road trip checkup. To avoid any possible breakdowns during your trip, ensure that your car’s tires are properly inflated, fluids are topped off, and everything under the hood looks all right.
- Lifeguards are a must. If you’re going to be around lakes or pools with your kids, make sure there is a lifeguard around.
Drowning. Surround swimming pools with a fence at least five feet high. Do not let children play around any water—unless an adult is present.
- Rip Currents: No. 1 Beach Danger. Rip currents are responsible for eight out of 10 beach drownings and are common on many U.S. beaches — even in shallow water. Rip currents occur on a windy day as surf pushes water inside the sandbar, and once pressure builds up there is a collapse of the sandbar. Unfortunately the currents get incredibly strong and swimmers have a difficult time swimming out of the current. The best advice is to swim parallel to the shore and in a short while if you are not outside the current, try swimming parallel to the shore in the other direction and this should get you out of the current and safely back to shore.
- Tune-up your boat. Have a professional check your boat to ensure it’s working properly, and make sure your safety equipment is in good shape — that the life preservers are fully functional and you have enough of them.
- Use lifejackets when boating. The American Boating Association encourages you to make sure you have a life vest that is appropriate for your child’s age and adult’s age.
Don’t Drink and Boat. Like driving a car, boating should not involve alcohol.
Outdoor Safety for Adults and Kids
- Insect Bites. Insect repellents used on children should contain no more than 10 percent of a chemical called DEET. Watch for allergic reactions or infections.
- Sports Safety. Wear appropriate safety gear when engaging in sports. Helmets are important to avoid simple concussions which can have long-term sequels.
- Burns. Keep babies younger than six months old out of direct sunlight. For all other children, use a sunscreen made for kids, with a SPF of at least 15 although SPF 50 is preferred. Sunscreen must be reapplied every hour, even if it says it is waterproof. Make sure to wear hats and sunglasses. Screen grills so children can’t touch them.
- Fireworks. Attend firework displays rather than purchasing fireworks for home use. “It’s really a lot safer to go to a professional show at one of the many area park districts,” says Dr. Checco. “By letting trained experts light the fireworks, all you have to do is sit there and enjoy the show.”
If you or a family membe needs medical attention this summer, Dr. Daniel Checco and the rest of Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses are ready to assist you and your family at The Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center located at 143rd St. and Bell Rd in Homer Glen. The Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can even check wait times (if any) online!