Tips to Keeping Your Family Burn Free this Summer
Summer is here! With another school year in the books, you can almost see the bright, beautiful fireworks, hear the calming ocean waves, smell the delicious BBQ, taste the scrumptious s’mores, and feel the warmth of the sun already. However, along with these wonders of summer come important reminders to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy throughout these glorious months. Here are some valuable tips to avoid the hidden burn dangers of summer:
We all know the painful side effects of receiving a sunburn – red, tender and warm to touch skin after 24 hours, followed by days of peeling. Sunburns can impact your skin’s overall health and be linked to the silent danger of dehydration. To prevent sunburns:
- Keep infants out of direct sun and dress them in a hat and lightweight clothing that protects the arms and legs.
- For infants and children over 6 months, use baby-sensitive sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater on any exposed areas.
- Did you know that it only takes around 15 minutes for a sunburn to start? Always apply sunscreen, even on cloudy days, and make sure to reapply every 2–3 hours, or more often if your child is playing in water or sweating.
- For older children, ensure that they are wearing a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30, has both UVA and UVB protection, and, of course, reapply!
- Given the change in climate and environmental factors it’s important to adjust your sun precautions accordingly. Check your local UV Index using the weather app on your phone to determine the strength of UV Rays for the day and the peak hours to take precautions.
Gatherings with friends and family around campfires and fire pits are a favorite summertime ritual. Whether it’s to make s’mores, share some ghost stories and happy memories, or warm up on a breezy summer night, campfires are fun but still pose a safety risk to children. Here are some ways to reduced campfire-related burns:
- Never use an accelerant such as gasoline on or near the fire.
- Make sure the fire pit isn’t anywhere near the house or anything that can burn.
- Establish a 3' safe zone where children are not allowed to enter using stones, coral/shells, or any inflammable debris to mark the perimeter.
- According to the American Burn Association, 70% of campfire burns are caused by embers rather than flames and fire pits can retain heat for up to 12 hours after being extinguished.
- Remember when having a beach fire pit that sand traps heat and can intensify the temperature causing a hidden danger even after the fire has been extinguished.
- Completely extinguish the fire and coals by pouring water, stirring, and pouring water again until it is cool. Never bury a fire.
Backyard BBQs and cookouts bring together families, friends and neighbors and that means grilling. Burgers and hotdogs are a given but burn awareness must go hand-in-hand at these parties.
- Only use a grill outdoors and position the grill away from siding, deck railings, trees and play areas. Never grill indoors, on a balcony, near a house or near a tent.
- When using a charcoal grill, never use gasoline as an accelerant and keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Avoid using easily flammable products when near the grill, such as paper products and towels.
- Never turn on the gas or light the grill with the lid closed! Leaving the lid closed can cause an unexpected explosion leading to serious injuries.
- Keep the grill clean so no fires or sparks are ignited from previous food crumbs.
Other Hidden Outdoor Dangers
With warmer weather still on the rise that typically means more and more time spent outside, whether it’s being active, enjoying the nice day or catching up on some yard work. Here are some lesser known risks:
- In weather that is hot, dry or windy with temperatures exceeding 80° F, yard mulch that is piled more than a few inches deep and left in the sun can get so hot it can spontaneously combust. Keep an eye on mulch that is sitting in direct sunlight or, if possible, have it be placed initially in a shaded area to control sun exposure.
- Metal and sometimes even plastic playground equipment under intense sun can heat to the point of giving burn blisters to unsuspecting children. Always check equipment temperature before allowing kids to play.
- Due to changing climate around the world it is unfortunate that in some regions, in the U.S and around the world, children and families have to exercise more caution on hot dry days due to the increase in wildfires. Always adhere to the warnings of the local and National Fire Protection Agency and have a plan in case of emergencies/
Summer is a time of fun, sun and beautiful days. Keep it that way by keeping these tips in mind to have a fun and safe summer!
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