Summer is a time of fun and freedom from school work and (sometimes) sports and other activities, as school breaks and warm weather provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities. However, it’s important to remember that with summer fun there are also certain risks. To ensure a safe and enjoyable season, it’s essential to be aware of summer safety practices.
Stay Hydrated: As temperatures rise, it’s crucial to stay hydrated, especially when engaging in physical activities outdoors. Encourage youth to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and heat-related illnesses. Packing a reusable water bottle when heading out is a smart idea to ensure access to clean water at all times.
Protect Your Skin: Sunburns not only cause discomfort but also increase the risk of long-term skin damage and skin cancer. Teach young individuals to protect their skin by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 30) and applying it generously before going outside. Additionally, encourage them to wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, and lightweight, breathable clothing that covers their arms and legs.
Practice Water Safety: Michigan has many public-access lakes, rivers, ponds, and pools. Swimming and water-related activities are very popular during the summer, but it’s important to prioritize water safety. Ensure that you are aware of the following guidelines:
Never swim alone and always swim in designated areas where lifeguards are present.
Learn how to swim and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
Follow all posted rules and signs at pools, lakes, parks, and beaches.
Use appropriate safety equipment, such as life jackets, when boating or participating in water sports.
Be Mindful of Heat-Related Illnesses: Even though Michigan doesn’t have the extreme summer temperatures of Arizona or Texas, extreme heat can still be dangerous here, particularly for young and elderly folks. Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, headache, and confusion. If they experience any of these symptoms, have them seek shade, drink water, and cool their body with wet towels or by taking a cool bath. In severe cases, they should seek medical attention immediately.
Stay Active Safely: Summer is a great time to get active, safely. Encourage your friends and teammates to warm up and stretch before engaging in any physical activity to prevent injuries. They should also wear appropriate protective gear, such as helmets for biking or skateboarding, kneepads for rollerblading, and proper footwear for outdoor sports. Additionally, they should be cautious of uneven surfaces and potential hazards in their surroundings.
Practice Responsible Socializing: Summer often involves socializing with friends and attending family events. Responsible behavior is important to learn, and to model, for others. Encourage open communication, so you and your friends feel comfortable reaching out for help or guidance if they find themselves in difficult situations.
While summer is a time for adventures and carefree fun, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Enjoy the season while safeguarding your well-being and that of your friends and family.