Summer Safety Topics

Updated August 16, 2022
Mother applying sun protection cream to daughter

Everyone loves summer with its lazy days, picnics, swimming, biking, visits to the park, and more. However, summer can also be full of different hazards as people are out in the sun, in pools, or on vacation enjoying the weather.

As you make plans for the warmer months, it can be helpful to learn more about summer safety topics. Share valuable information for safety in the sun, heat, and water with the kids and other family members. Get tips on how to play at the playground safely and avoid bugs so that everyone stays healthy and active.

Sun Safety Tips

Kids and adults are at greater risk for sunburns during the summer months. Besides being painful, sunburns can lead to disease down the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 37% of adults always or most of the time use sunscreen when in the sun. Teaching sun safety to kids and other adults can help them make better decisions.

In addition to applying sunscreen, you can do other things to keep yourself safe from the sun, according to the CDC.

  • Bring a shade enclosure or large umbrella if you'll be spending a lot of time in the sun.
  • Protect your eyes. Never look directly at the sun and wear sunglasses to block some of the UV rays.
  • Seek shade from trees or other natural elements.
  • Use caution even on cloudy days since you can still get a sunburn when you can't see the sun.
  • Wear a sun hat or protective clothing, like sun shirts, to protect your face and body from harmful rays when in sun for extended periods.

Summer Heat Safety and Awareness

The sun can also cause people to overheat, particularly on long, hot summer days. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides warnings about several heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat rash. Teaching summer heat safety tips can help prevent heatstroke and dehydration during fun activities or outside work.

While drinking plenty of water and avoiding the hottest periods of the day can help a lot, it's also a good plan to consider the following tips.

  • Know you can become overheated on cloudy days just as easily as on sunny ones. Don't let the weather fool you into thinking the heat isn't a danger.
  • Learn the signs of heat rash. This pink rash looks like tiny pimples and indicates someone has spent too much time in the heat, according to OSHA.
  • Monitor your body closely for signs you may be too hot, such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, and dry mouth.
  • Remember, it gets hot inside too. If you don't have air conditioning, keep clothing light and use fans to cool rooms.

Safety Tips for Kids Home Alone

Safety for Kids Home Alone

Summer vacation is a time that many children stay home alone. Adults may be working all day, and older kids may prefer the freedom of being home to a summer camp or daycare program. Depending on your state, it can be quite common for children to be left home without supervision, according to Child Welfare Information Gateway (CWIG).

Your child can have a happy, healthy summer at home. However, it's important to plan carefully to avoid hidden dangers, notes CWIG.

  • Keep an eye on screen time. With huge blocks of uninterrupted time, kids who are left to their own devices may spend too much time on the computer, tablet, or phone or in front of the TV, which can be harmful to their health.
  • Learn about basic internet safety and how to protect your child when you aren't home.
  • Make sure kids have a plan for emergencies. Post cell phone numbers and fire escape plans in easy-access locations and practice various scenarios regularly.
  • Monitor your kids' diet. It's not an acute danger, but eating poorly can affect your child's overall health. Plan for healthy meals and snacks and limit access to low-quality foods when you are away.
  • Talk to kids about stranger safety. Make sure everyone understands the rules about people coming to the door, how to answer the phone, and other considerations.

Safety Tips for Summer Toys

When it's hot out, there's nothing more fun than playing with summer toys. However, from trampoline injuries to mold contamination, these fun items also come with hidden dangers.

  • Check for toy recalls that may affect outdoor items. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a list of all current recalls, so check it regularly to see if any of your summer toys are affected.
  • For water slides and other similar toys, it's a good idea to perform a beginning-of-summer inspection for sharp edges. Sometimes, wear and tear can expose sharp places that can scrape people as they enjoy the water toy.
  • Inspect playhouses and tree houses. If your treehouse or playhouse is in poor shape, take some time to repair it. Pay special attention to structural integrity and mold infestations.
  • Think twice about trampolines. According to a Paediatrics & Child Health study in 2018, trampolines are associated with a significant risk for injury. If you decide to have a trampoline at home, choose one with an enclosure and make a rule that only one child may use it at a time.

Water Safety Guidelines for Summer Fun

Water is another source of summer fun and another hazard. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14. As you're addressing summer safety topics, be sure to include water safety games, coloring pages, and other activities to help children and adults understand how to handle this hazard. In addition, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Don't forget to consider water quality. Before heading to the beach, check for contamination with harmful bacteria like E. coli. Most public beaches will post a sign to close the beach in the event of contamination, but you can also find closure updates on local news sites.
  • Use caution near flowing waterways, as well as pools and lakes. Rivers and creeks can experience a sudden rise in water levels in early summer, and this can take people by surprise. Keep this in mind when fishing or playing near moving water.
  • When camping, don't drink lake or river water unless you use a water purifier or are in a place known for clean waterways. A variety of micro-organisms live in contaminated water and can make you ill.

Summer Vacation Safety

Cheerful family enjoying road trip

Summer is a great time for taking family trips and vacations, but these activities can also make you vulnerable to new hazards. Remember to keep summer vacation safety tips in mind when you travel, such as stopping your mail while you're away and packing appropriate gear for your trip.

Remember the following tips as you travel.

  • Don't plan to drive when you know you'll be tired. A road trip is fun, and it's tempting to try to reach your destination as quickly as possible. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) pointed out that driving while drowsy can be the same as driving under the influence.
  • Make sure your car is road-safe before you set out on a long trip. Perform proper maintenance and pack an emergency kit to help.
  • Use caution when posting on social media about your trip. Publicly announcing you're out of town can be an invitation to potential burglars.

Summer Storm Safety

Summer is also the season of lightning storms and other weather events. From tornados to dust storms, safety training for severe weather can make a big difference in the health and security of your family. Take some time to review the basics, including assembling an emergency supply kit and assigning a meeting spot in the safest area of your home. Keep these other tips in mind as well.

  • Hurricanes can present a major safety concern near the end of summer. Keep on top of current and developing Hurricanes by regularly checking the National Hurricane Center for updates.
  • Storms can make children and some adults nervous, but anxiety can make it harder to make decisions in an emergency. Learn positive strategies for managing stress, such as deep breathing and visualization, to help you manage storm anxiety and make good decisions when you need to.
  • While cell phones and computers are a great way to get news and weather updates in a storm emergency, it's also a good idea to have a backup crank radio in case you don't have access to power or cell service.

Summer Bike Safety Tips

Kids and adults alike love riding bikes in the summer. As part of your seasonal safety discussion, don't forget to include practical bicycle safety tips like choosing a bike that fits and wearing a helmet. Teaching and enforcing bike safety in your family can save lives. Try some of the bike safety tips offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • At the beginning of the summer, practice bike safety in a parking lot or driveway before heading out on the road.
  • Periodically review kids' bike safety knowledge throughout the summer. Ask questions about how they would handle various situations and observe their behavior on short rides.
  • Set a good example for younger riders by always wearing appropriate safety gear and keeping your bike in good working order.

Summer Garden Safety Advice

From growing your own food to creating gorgeous flower bouquets, gardening is a wonderful summer hobby. However, like any hobby, it does come with some safety concerns. In addition to considering the heat and using caution with sun exposure, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Know the dangers of the plants in your yard. Especially if you have young children or pets near your home, you should avoid or limit planting of poisonous plants.
  • Learn about venomous snakes that live in your area. If you are working or playing in the garden and encounter a snake you can't identify, give it plenty of space.
  • Look for poisonous mushrooms that may be living near your garden. Learning to identify mushrooms can help you remove these dangerous species from your yard.
  • Read the label on all products you use in your garden. Many fertilizers and pesticides are extremely poisonous, so you should always keep them out of reach of children and pets.

Summer Fire Safety Pointers

Whether you're gathered around the backyard fire pit or toasting marshmallows on a camping trip, summer fire safety is important. Knowing where and how to build a fire safely, as well as how to put out a fire that gets out of control, can keep you and your children safe. Learn a few fire safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration.

  • Make sure to build a campfire at least 25 feet from tents.
  • Make sure everyone in the family is aware of fire extinguishers and sprinklers and knows how to use them when needed.
  • Make sure fire pits have a three-foot safety radius.
  • Rehearse the steps to take if you see a fire in your area. Make sure emergency numbers are posted for children.
  • Remember, fireworks and sparklers can present a major fire hazard. It's best to see a public fireworks display.
  • Teach children how to deal with an unexpected fire and rehearse the steps they need to take.

Summer Grilling Safety

From lighting a grill to cooking meat to the proper temperature, outdoor cooking safety is another important topic to cover during the summer. Gas grill safety, as well as proper operation of charcoal grills, can keep you and your family safe during your barbeque or picnic this summer. Consider the following tips.

  • Be aware of food safety guidelines. Proper storage and cooking of food are essential to keep everyone healthy.
  • Follow grilling instructions and keep a safety zone of three feet around the grill, according to U.S. Fire Administration.
  • Have everything you need for grilling close at hand. That way, you won't have to leave the grill unattended as you run to get something you need.
  • If you'll be hosting people with food allergies, make sure you grill on a separate pan or clean the grill service extremely well. Even a small amount of an allergen can cause an extreme reaction in some people.
  • Make sure to use long BBQ tools with long handles to avoid burns.

Playground Safety for Summer Fun

Staying Safe at the Playground

If you have young kids, it's a good idea to review children's summer safety tips, especially when it comes to playground safety. From unsafe structures to a lack of falling surfaces, playground hazards can turn a good time into an unsafe situation. Teach your kids how to spot these hazards and move on to a new playground.

Before you head to the playground, keep these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at the front of your mind.

  • Check for hot slides as soon as you get to the park. Metal slides, in particular, can become dangerously hot on sunny days.
  • Examine structures for sharp edges or potential hazards before you let kids play.
  • Look inside tunnels and under surfaces for wasps' nests. These areas are protected from weather and can attract dangerous pests.

Home Safety in the Summer

You may already be aware of typical home safety hazards like poisonous household cleansers and carbon monoxide, but did you know the summer season comes with its own unique set of safety concerns around the house? Rising temperatures and other seasonal factors create situations that require extra caution.

  • Lawn mowers are another summer safety concern. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 253,000 people were injured by mowers in 2017 - many from objects sent flying at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Before mowing, always clear the lawn of any toys, rocks, wood, and debris. Never ride with children, and always be sure children are a safe distance away.
  • Opening a window is another method for cooling your home if you don't have air conditioning; however, it can present a hazard - especially on the second story. According to the National Safety Council, about 3,300 children require emergency treatment each year after falls from windows. If you need to open a window on the second story or higher, make sure it is not near a child's play area, and be sure to supervise the child at all times.
  • Turning on a portable fan is a great way to cool off on a hot day, but fans can be dangerous. Before using a fan, inspect it carefully to make sure the protective guard is intact and in good shape, also check the cords.

Summer Insect Safety and Tips

No discussion of safety topics for summer would be complete without talking about bugs. Stinging insects are busy making the rounds of the flowers, and there are many varieties of bugs, like ticks and mosquitoes, waiting for their next innocent victims.

To help make yourself or your child a less attractive meal, consider using a bug repellent. You can also try a few summer insect tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

  • Always do a tick check at the end of the day if you live in an area where ticks are problematic.
  • Avoid scented perfumes and soaps in the summer since some products may attract bees and other insects.
  • Get rid of pools of stagnant water around your home as these can be a breeding area for mosquitos.
  • Use nets if available in closed areas or on beds.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to cover your skin.

Teaching Summer Safety

In addition to reviewing the important topics, it's also a good idea to get creative when teaching summer safety.

  • After reviewing safety topics, make a summer safety quiz with the items you find most important. Form into teams and see which side has the best score.
  • Give kids a fun reminder by using coloring sheets for summer safety. With topics like sun and water safety, these coloring sheets are fun and educational.
  • Use summer safety lesson plans to help kids understand the importance of safety procedures.
  • Use summer safety songs to help children and adults remember proper safety procedures for all kinds of warm weather activities.
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