Schools are being let out all across the country, and you can practically hear the cheers of joy from classrooms! It’s time for trips to the lake or beach, lazy days by the pool, graduation parties, and long road trips. If you’re a teen or high schooler (or a parent of one), you may not be thinking about safety as the temperatures start to climb. But studies show that summer is the time of year when accidents can happen suddenly and have tragic results, and preparation is key to preventing many mishaps. Here are some tips to staying safe and happy this season:
-Hiking and Biking safety: If you’re preparing for a hike, make sure you first tell at least one other person where you will be and when you’ll be back. Try to leave early in the morning, when the heat is less direct, and bring along all the supplies you’d need if you were stranded (a tiny fold up emergency blanket, water, protein bar, cell phone, flashlight and a first aid kit for starters). If you are biking, wear a helmet, and bring along a patch kit for your tires in case you hit anything sharp or have a flat. Lastly, wear bug spray and repellant, and watch for poisonous plants along any trails.
-Water and lake safety: Never swim alone, and always have enough life vests for everyone if you take a canoe or boat out on a lake. Even strong swimmers can be swept away by a current, and tipped kayaks and canoes can be disastrous. Be sure to educate yourself about secondary drowning as well, so you are aware and could help in an emergency. When you’re laying out by the water (or on a boat), apply sunscreen more than once, as it can easily be washed off. Follow the directions on your bottle to know when to reapply and set an alarm on your phone to do so….better safe than sorry, and you’ll preserve your beautiful skin!
-Road Trip safety: Again, always tell someone your route and where you’ll be headed, then if you don’t arrive at the right time or day, they will know to check on you. Fill up your car with gas, and bring along a small gas can to be safe. Make sure your insurance is up to date, and save your insurance card on your cell phone as a photo; some insurance ID’s require reception or WIFI to download, and you want to have access to them at all times. Carry a jumpstart kit, a flare gun, and extra water/food in your car at all times, especially in the warm summer months.
-Party safety: It should go without saying, but road accidents among teens increase in the summer months because of alcohol, so never drink and drive. Underage drinking is irresponsible, and illegal, and can change your life and someone else’s in an instant. Never get into a car with someone who has been drinking, and be sure to have a safety plan in place (a designated driver or a parent who will come to pick you up anytime) if things begin to get out of hand at any grad parties. Another lesser known cause of accidents at parties is food allergies, so if you suffer from any allergies, check with your doctor to get an epi-pen or rescue medication. Things like gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts can be hidden in things like pasta salad, dressings, or even fruit salads, so if you’re unsure, bring along your own snack to be safe.
-Pets and children safety: If you’re a dog or cat owner, or if you babysit or nanny young children, it’s important to remember to never leave them in the car in the summer, even for a moment. Just ten minutes in a hot time of day can leave pets with brain damage and dehydration. Pack extra water (2 liters per person), and keep everyone hydrated, including pets. Educate yourself by taking babysitting or CPR classes at your local rec center or Red Cross so you know what to do in an emergent situation. If you are driving young children in your car, check their child seats and make sure they’re properly belted in; you can even stop by a local fire station to ask if the seats are properly installed.
These tips are just a quick rundown of the steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this season. Our best tips always include one big step: preparation! Enjoy your warm summer days!