We wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Make sure that you take a minute to check out a few safety tips before you head out.
Heading to the Pool or Beach?
If you plan to be at the pool or on the beach over the holiday weekend, check out these water safety tips for prevention strategies.
Follow these tips around open water:
- Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults.
- Enroll your child in swimming lessons – it is an important skill for both children and adults to know.
- Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
- Do not let kids operate personal water crafts such as jet skis. These are intended for adults and require special training.
- Teach children not to dive into oceans, lakes or rivers because you never know how deep the water is or what might be hidden under the surface of the water.
- Learn infant and child CPR and keep a phone nearby in case of an emergency.
Protect your children while boating, by following these steps:
- Always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats or around open bodies of water or participating in water sports. The life jacket should fit snugly and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through the neck opening.
- Take a boating education course that will teach safe boating practices.
- Get a vessel safety check every year for free from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. For more information go to www.uscgboating.org and click “get a free safety check.”
- Never drink alcoholic beverages while boating
Pool and Hot Tub Tips – Prevent Entrapment:
Pools that pose the greatest risk of entrapment are children’s public wading pools, in-ground hot tubs or any others pools that have flat drain grates and/or a single main drain system.
- Warn your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and entrapment and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets.
- Never swim in a pool or hot tub that has a broken, loose or missing drain cover.
- Install protection to prevent entrapment if you own a pool or hot tub.
- For new pools or hot tubs, install multiple drains or use a no-drain circulation system.
- If you do have drains, protective measures include anti-entrapment drain covers and a safety vacuum release system to automatically release suction and shut down the pump should entrapment occur. Go to www.PoolSafety.gov for a list of manufacturers of certified covers.
- You can check with your pool operator to find out whether your pool or hot tub’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act.
- Actively supervise your children around water at all times, and have a phone nearby to call for help in an emergency.
- Make sure your pool has four-sided fencing and a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised. In addition, hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use.
- Install a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised.
- From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
- Enroll your child in swimming lessons after age 4 – typically the earliest age when they are likely to practice and retain information. Teach children how to tread water, float and stay by the shore.
- Learn CPR and know how to respond in water emergencies.
Having a Cookout?
Before you put the burgers on the grill, follow a few simple tips to avoid grilling injuries.
Top Grill Safety Tips
- Grills should only be used outdoors and at least 10 feet away from a house or any building.
- Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- The grill should be placed well away from deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free” safety zone around the grill.
- Grills should be kept clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill itself and in the trays below the grill.
- Never leave a grill unattended.
- Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from the grill.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the lit fire.
- Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.
- Store charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks.
- If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when operating a gas grill.
- Never start a fire with gasoline or other flammable products.
Safety In “Getting There”!
Before letting your kids out the door to go play with friends, siblings and cousins, remind them about how to stay safe while walking, playing at parks and riding in a car. Here are some simple reminders:
- Always wear a seat belt or use an appropriate car seat.
- Every rider in the vehicle needs to buckle up no matter how long or short the distance.
- When walking, be sure to cross the street at corners and look both ways before crossing and while getting to the other side.
- You wouldn’t play football without a helmet, don’t ride your bike without one either. A bike helmet should be thought of as a necessity, not an accessory. Be sure to wear one on each ride.
72 and Sunny is No Way to Die!!
Since 1998, more than 500 children across the U.S. have died as a result of hyperthermia (also known as heat stroke). For every child who dies after being left alone in a hot car, hundreds more are near misses – those rescued before a fatality. Together we can reduce the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.
Top Tips for Preventing Hyperthermia
- Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by:
- Never leaving your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
- Consistently locking unattended vehicle doors and trunks.
- Create reminders and habits that give you and your child’s caregiver a safety net:
- Establish a peace-of-mind plan. When you drop off your child, make a habit of calling or texting all other caregivers, so all of you know where your child is at all times.
- Place a purse, briefcase, gym bag, cell phone or an item that is needed at your next stop in a back seat.
- Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer calendar as a reminder to drop your child off at childcare.
- Take action if you see an unattended child in a vehicle:
Dial 911 immediately and follow the instructions that emergency personnel provide – they are trained to determine if a child is in danger.
This blog entry has offered LOTS of safety tips on a variety of topics. Each of us spend our Memorial Day holiday in a different way, hopefully enjoying time with family and friends. Our goal at Safe Kids is to keep the holidays SAFE. More tips can be found at safekidsgf.com or on our Facebook site at Safe Kids Grand Forks. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks. For questions or more information, contact us there at 701-780-1489 or firstname.lastname@example.org.