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Hot Tips for a Safe Summer 

Nine Simple Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors—With Minimal Risk

The sounds of summer in Texas: Children laughing down the block. The jangle of the passing ice cream truck. The incessant roar of the neighbor’s lawn mower. And the piercing wail of the ambulance siren.

With kids home for vacation, there’s more opportunity for accidents and injuries. Add sweltering heat and humidity to the mix and visits to the emergency department become a real possibility. But here are some ways you and yours can stay safe instead:

  1. Avoid heat stress. Outdoor activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced when there’s excessive heat and humidity.
  2. Slather it. Kids of all ages (yes, that means you, too!) should wear a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 15. Consider a higher SPF if you’re going to be outside for extended periods of time. And don’t forget to reapply it every so often. Sunglasses that block UV rays are also important. And if you can, keep the family indoors, or hang out in the shade, during the hottest time of day: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  3. Drink it up. If your kids are playing outdoors, monitor their hydration. Children weighing up to 90 pounds need at least 5 ounces of cold water every 20 minutes; those weighing up to 130 pounds need 9 ounces over the same time period.
  4. Swim smart. Make sure your pool area is enclosed by a fence and has self-closing latches and gates so children can’t accidentally access the water. And check the condition of your pool drain—suction from a drain without an adequate cover can drag an adult down.
  5. Gear up. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, wearing a bicycling helmet can reduce risk of injury as much as 85 percent. But helmet protection doesn’t just apply to bike riding. Kids should also wear helmets on scooters and when roller-skating.
  6. Inspect it. Falls cause 60 percent of playground injuries. Make sure the areas around swings, slides, monkey bars, etc., have safe surfaces—like rubberized areas or loose fill—to cushion the inevitable spills.
  7. Check the grill. Got a gas grill? Check for blockages from spider webs and other critter accumulations. Otherwise, turning on the gas may cause a backup that results in an explosion.
  8. Mow carefully. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that weekend warriors should exercise caution when mowing, especially on inclines. If you’re rushing to get that yard work done, that mower may tip over, exposing the whirring blades. And if there’s a jam, remember to remove the mower’s spark plug before trying to dislodge debris.
  9. Learn CPR. The American Red Cross suggests learning CPR. These skills could make all the difference if a problem arises. Check Classes & Events on BaylorHealth.com for times and dates of CPR training at the Baylor Health Care System hospital nearest you.