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10 Tips to Keep Your Kids, Pets, and Family Safe this Summer


June 9, 2019

By Addie Davis

Temperatures in our area continue to rise, and unless you're inside with the air conditioning blasting, it's tough to escape the Texas heat. With the kids out of school, and families traveling, you need to remember these tips to keep your family safe and healthy this summer.

1. Block Out The Sun

The sun's rays are strongest between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, so be extra careful with outside activities during that time. Remember to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours and after being in the water or sweating. Children under one should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. Dress babies in lightweight, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants and always cover their head.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that each year, nearly five million Americans are treated for skin cancer. They recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, but also suggest: "For the best protection, stay in the shade and wear protective clothing, a hat with a wide brim, and sunglasses, as well as sunscreen."

2. Protect Against Bites and Stings

Check your yard for bee and wasp nests and fire ant hills. Teach children not to touch or throw things at nests or poke the ant hills.

To protect yourself from annoying gnats and mosquitoes, avoid using scented soaps, perfumes, lotions and hair products. Bugs are attracted to them, as well as body heat and sweat.

Apply bug repellent on the outside of clothing and on exposed skin, but avoid putting the chemicals on cuts. Do not spray repellent on the face either. Instead, spray a little in your hand and rub it in. To prevent tick and other bites, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside or hiking in woods or fields with high grass.

3. Stay Hydrated
During these hot summer months, it's important to carry water or have access to water at all times. On hot and humid days, use the 20 minute rule: Drink water at least every 20 minutes. Being diligent can help prevent heat stress and heat stroke.
Keep a close eye on young children and older adults, to make sure they are drinking enough water throughout the day. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, lethargy, weakness in muscles, headache and dizziness.
4. Never Leave Passengers in Hot Cars
Remember to always check the vehicle for all passengers and pets after parking. On a 90-degree day, the inside temperature of a parked car can reach up to 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
Authorities urge the community to contact 911 immediately if they see a person or animal trapped in a hot car.

5. Protect Children Around Water

Never leave children unattended near a body of water - backyard pool, fishing by a lake, visiting the ocean or a water park. Supervise your young children and keep them within arm’s reach.
Children who can’t swim should wear life jackets at all times when participating in any water-related activity. Also, practice the buddy system - no one should ever swim alone. If you have a pool at home, make sure it’s fenced in or shut down securely when not in use.
6. Practice Fire Safety
Children should never be allowed to ignite fireworks. Be sure to teach responsible and safe use of sparklers to older children, because they can burn to temperatures above 2,000 degrees. If you’re lighting fireworks, be sure to keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby. Some communities prohibit fireworks, so know your neighborhood's rules regarding fireworks before setting up.
7. Stay Alert on Road Trips
Tired drivers should find a safe place to pull over and rest. On longer drives, schedule breaks every couple of hours to rejuvenate by stretching your legs and back, and getting some fresh air. Alternate with alert passengers to split up the drive. Remember to avoid using a cell phone (talking or texting) while driving.
8. Avoid Poisonous Plants
Learn to recognize poisonous plants such as poison ivy and poison oak. If you come into contact with a poisonous plant, wash the affected area immediately. Always have a First Aid Kit handy (at home and in the car), stocked with the basics. If a rash develops, you should apply a topical hydro-cortisone cream and take an antihistamine to help with itching.

9. Share Less on Social Media

If you're traveling this summer, wait to post your amazing vacation photos until you get home. Posting information and photos of your location, schedule or other travel information in real-time can be dangerous. Sharing your agenda or location on social media allows potential thieves to keep track of where you are, making it easier for them to target your home.

10. Remember Your Four-legged Friends Too
PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment for Animals, reported that 64 "dogs and other animal companions died from heat-related causes in 2018 and 2019."
When outside, provide a shady spot for your pet to rest. Dog houses can trap heat and get really uncomfortable. Don’t overexpose your pet to hot sand or asphalt as these surfaces may burn their paws. Always provide furry friends plenty of water, and never leave them in an unattended, turned-off, locked car.

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