By Ann Wright, CEO of the American Red Cross Western Carolinas Region
June 20, the first official day of summer is here and if you’re like me, you spend as much time as possible outdoors. My favorite place to be is in my boat pulling my grandchildren on an innertube, or on occasion sitting on the dock working a crossword puzzle listening to the water lapping on the shore.
I love to see and hear people making memories. But with all the wonderful memory making moments that come with the magical three months of summer also comes many dangers. As much as we like to pretend we remember all those very important summer safety tips, the truth is most of us need a reminder. Plus this summer, as with every summer, there is always a fresh crop of mommies and daddies experiencing their very first summer with little ones.
So here is a basic summer safety refresher I’d like for us all to keep in mind.
- Protect Your Family from the Sun – Did you know that 80 percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18? That means the job you do of protecting your child from the sun will have a direct effect on their chances of getting skin cancer later in life. Wear sunscreen (SPF 50) and wear a hat. There is no cancer as easy to prevent as skin cancer yet it remains the most common form of cancer in the United States. Just remember “Slip, Slop, Slap, and wrap.” First, slip on some protective clothing. Secondly wear sunscreen. Next, slap on a hat. Finally, wrap on some sunglasses!
- Protect Your Family in The Water – Did you know that fatal drownings remain the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years? Yep. So, make sure your child knows how to swim as soon as he or she is old enough. And even more importantly, no matter how good of a swimmer your child is, watch them closely! Whether it’s the lake, the beach or the pool. Keep your eyes on your kids!
- Protect Your Family From Nature – When swimming, hiking, boating or anything outside make sure you’re protected with bug spray. And don’t forget to have extra water and a first aid kit when spending time in the great outdoors this summer.
- Protect Your Kids From Danger – With the summer comes trips to the fair and other amusement parks. There is no better time to go over things like stranger danger tips with the kids.
While there are many more summer safety tips that could be shared, instead, I’d like to make you aware of a new, FREE first aid app from the American Red Cross for use on all iOS and Android devices. The Red Cross mobile app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid.
The app features simple step-by-step instructions to guide you through everyday first aid scenarios, videos and animations to make learning first aid easy, safety tips for everything from severe winter weather to hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. You will also have access to interactive quizzes which allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends and show off your lifesaving knowledge. All of this content is preloaded on your device so if you should lose your Internet connection, you’ll still have access to the information. In addition, this app is fully integrated with 911, so you can call EMS from the app at any time.
So, as summer officially begins, keep these simple safety tips in mind and go to redcross.org and download the new first aid app. And, if you’re having fun on the lake where I live, make sure you swing on by and wave. Just look for the old lady skiing or making a ruckus with her grandkids at the dock!