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9 summer safety tips for you and your family

| Healthy You | Kids Health | Safety | Resources

Young Black girls putting on bright pink life vests by the shore of a lake

Maximize your summer fun with a little advance planning.

Whoa — it feels like just yesterday that we were bundled up in knit hats, parkas and rainboots. But with school nearly out and sunshine in the forecast, summer is coming up fast. 

While summer break is prime time for relaxation, nothing can dampen the mood like getting hurt or sick. Hitting the beach, hosting a cookout or headed on a camping trip? Plan ahead for how you’ll stay illness- and injury-free.

As you get ready, keep in mind these summer safety tips for the whole family:

  1. Water. Whether you’re in a pool, lake or ocean, stay alert. Always supervise young swimmers, and consider using life jackets or floats for added protection. Life vests are essential for boating, too. And you may want to leave a “float plan” behind with a friend. That way, someone on land knows where you are if something happens when you’re out on the water. More water safety.
  2. Sun. UV rays can damage your skin before you realize it. Remember to put on — and reapply — sunscreen often (SPF 30 is great). Also choose protective clothing and accessories like a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Seek shade when the sun is at its hottest. More sun safety.
  3. Heat. High temperatures can lead to illnesses like heatstroke, heat rash, cramps or exhaustion. Drink plenty of water and watch for headaches or nausea. These can be signs of heat-related illness. Think someone has heatstroke? Move them into the shade and give them water, then get medical help. More heat safety.
  4. Fireworks. Sure, Roman candles, pinwheels and sparklers add excitement to summer celebrations. But they also come with the risk of fires and injuries. If you can’t resist an at-home display, follow all safety guidelines and keep a bucket of water nearby to douse any flames. Even safer: Skip the DIY and find a professional fireworks display. Coping with fireworks and PTSD.
  5. Insects. Bug bites are not only itchy and irritating; they also carry the risk of illness. Use bug spray, wear protective clothing and check for ticks [TC1] after you’ve been outdoors, especially in wooded areas. Love perfume? So do bees. It’s best to avoid strong scents when spending time outside. More on creepy crawlies.
  6. Kids and fur family. Don’t forget that even on mild days, the inside of a car can get dangerously hot. Never leave kids or pets alone in a parked car, even for a few minutes. If you’re headed to the playground, take a close look at the equipment before letting little ones roam. Are there any potential hazards or damage? Is the surface below it covered with bark chips or other materials, to cushion falls? If not, choose another place to play. More child and pet safety.
  7. Bikes/scooters/skateboards. Helmets are essential when you or a family member gets rolling on two wheels or four. Before biking or skating, check that everybody’s helmets fit well. Replace them if needed for maximum protection from falls or accidents. More bike safety.
  8. First aid: Keep your first-aid kit well-stocked and nearby for minor injuries. Check your supplies regularly and refill as needed to stay prepared for any situation. How to fill a first-aid kit.
  9. Get travel ready. Before leaving home for a summer adventure, make time for a check-up with your healthcare provider. They can help get your vaccinations up to date, refill your prescriptions and address any health concerns so you can travel with peace of mind. It’s also a good idea to read up on local safety recommendations, especially if you’re traveling to a new place. More travel health and safety.

By following these tips, you can lower the risks and make the most of all the sunny season has to offer.

If, even after all that planning, you need care for a sunburn, scrape or other summertime oops, here’s how to choose the right place to go for your illness or injury.