6 tips for a safe and healthy summer

Summer is finally in full swing and with the warm weather come trips to the cottage and other outdoor adventures. Unfortunately, summer adventures sometimes lead to injuries.  “Most of the injuries we see in the emergency room during the summer are very preventable,” says Dr. Howard Ovens, Director of the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Centre. “A little extra care and caution during summer activities goes a long way to keeping families safe and healthy.”  The 6 tips below will help you and your family enjoy the summer season as safely as possible.

Photo of family in canoe on lake

1. Pay careful attention to road safety.  Summer is a time of avoidable motor vehicle collisions – between vehicles, or with cyclists and pedestrians. Use common sense; leave lots of time to get to the cottage or picnic and slow down! Keep your eyes on the road and give cyclists, joggers and other road users a wide berth. Pass with care on two-lane roads. Don’t drink and drive, drink and boat, or drink and swim! And wear your seatbelt at all times and make sure all passengers are safely restrained.

2. Use sunscreen and limit sun exposure.  To avoid sunburns, be sure to apply SPF 30+ at least 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure and to reapply every two hours even if you haven’t gone in the water. If possible, limit your sun exposure between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when UV rays are especially strong and sunburn is most likely to occur.

3. Stay hydrated. Drink enough water when spending a lot of time outside in the sun, and avoid sugary or alcoholic beverages that can be dehydrating. Passage of urine on a regular basis that is lighter yellow in colour indicates adequate hydration.

4. Avoid burns. Take extra care when cooking on the barbecue or handling fireworks or flammable liquids, and keep a safe distance from campfires and fire pits. Be sure to supervise children at all times near open flames.

5. Wear proper protective gear. When enjoying outdoor activities, make sure you take proper safety precautions by wearing the appropriate protective gear. For example, wear helmets while biking or skateboarding or long pants and socks while hiking wooded trails.

6. Practice water safety. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children under 15 years old.  Men are also nearly three times more likely to drown than women.  To stay safe, avoid swimming alone and make sure young children are supervised at all times when playing in or near water. Consider earning or renewing your CPR certification and learn how to recognize the surprisingly quiet and subtle signs that someone may be drowning or in aquatic distress.

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Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation

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