With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, families must take precaution concerning the many dangers lurking through the unofficial beginning of summer. From traveling in boats and cars to grilling out in the sun, sometimes the least conspicuous activities can have the most devastating consequences. Here are some safety tips to help keep you and your family safe this summer.
From May 18 through May 31, law enforcement agencies will be taking a firmer stance on the “Click it or Ticket” policy. In 2013, only 87 percent of all U.S. motorists wore a seat belt while operating their vehicle. Nearly half of all 21,132 crash-related fatalities in 2013 were the result of people not restrained in a seat belt at the time of the accident. Memorial Day weekend has been acknowledged as one of the busiest travel times of the year, leaving law enforcement to step up their initiative and keep motorists from making the same mistake.
“Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes,” said spokesman Eddie Russell in a news release from the North Alabama Highway Safety Office. “As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash – buckling up.”
Boating / Water Safety
Boating can open up a world of summer fun for friends and family alike, whether it by canoe, raft, motorboat, or kayak. While on vacation, some may prefer to let safety be the farthest thing from their mind, but the difference in environment can spell danger to unsuspecting boaters.
A fact many boat enthusiasts may not be aware of is how quickly thunderstorms can develop while on the water. A storm, regardless of size and, can bring about strong waves, sudden downpours and sometimes lightning. If you are on a boat while a storm approaches, either head into the boat’s cabin for refuge, or stay as low as possible through the duration of the storm.
Did you know 85 percent of all drowning fatalities occurred while a life vest was not on? Ensure that all boat passengers have life vests on while boating. Children should always keep life vests on while playing in or around water.
Never swim alone. Groups of two or more are advised when in the ocean or other large bodies of water.
Skin Cancer / Sun Exposure
As designated by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, “Don’t Fry Day” is the Friday prior to Memorial Day and the start of the Memorial Day weekend. Skin cancer is on the rise in the U.S., and while millions of Americans enjoy being out and about during the summer months, the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from a deadly form of skin cancer.
In order to best protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays, ensure you wear sun-protection, regularly apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, seek shade when necessary and make an effort to prevent yourself from becoming sunburned. Lastly, examine your skin throughout the summer for unusual moles or skin growths. Skin cancer is highly curable, but only if it can be found early and action is taken.
Grilling / Cook Out
When cooking out, take time to thoroughly clean the grill and check for any gas leaks before igniting. Never use a grill inside a house, garage, porch, or any enclosed area. Keep your hands thoroughly washed when handling and cooking raw poultry or meat. Always have uncooked meats away from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Another good idea if visiting a new area during your vacation travels is to always take time to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and where the nearest emergency facilities are located. When someone gets badly injured, time is crucial in their survival.