Summer Safety Tips

Summer has its own set of expectations - fun, frolic and free time. It also has its own set of concerns. Here are some simple guidelines and fun ideas for a summer that can be both safe and enjoyable for you and your family.

Barbeque Safety:
Outdoor cooking is a great part of summer. A barbecue grill can make food taste great and cooking fun. But it can also be dangerous. You can make barbecuing safe by knowing the Do's and Don'ts of barbecue safety.


  Do let the adults handle the cooking. Dealing with flammable liquids and high temperature can burn more than hamburgers.
  Do be sure that the barbecue grill is located in a safe place. Keep things that will burn a safe distance in all directions. Be sure to check up above also.
  Do stay completely away from a hot grill. Playing near a barbecue grill can cause serious burns if the grill is touched.
  Do make sure the barbecue grill is level and steady and keep a container of water nearby. After cooking soak the coals in water. Dispose of the charcoal in a metal container with a tight fitting lid. Many brush fires start because hot coals, thought to be cool were dumped in the leaves.
  Do dispose of bags of damp or wet charcoal, as it can spontaneously combust.
  Do pre-plan the refilling of your propane tank so that the trip to-and-from the refilling location is uninterrupted so that the tank is not stored in the vehicle for an extended period of time.

Do Not:

  Don't wear loose, oversized clothing around a barbecue grill.
  Don't ever use a gas or charcoal grill inside. Burning charcoal gives off a poisonous gas. Even in small amounts, it can cause injury or death.
  Don't ever add starter fluid or gasoline to an already lighted grill. Fire can follow the fluid back to the can and cause it to explode. To speed a slow fire, carefully tuck dry kindling under the charcoal.
  Don't ever leave a grill unattended. A grill on a wood deck is especially dangerous as it can quickly set the deck on fire if it is upset.

When Lightning Strikes:
On average, lightning causes more casualties annually in the US than any other storm-related occurrence, except floods. Many people incur injuries or are killed due to misinformation and inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms. A few simple precautions can reduce many of the dangers posed by lightning.

Avoid being in or near high places and open fields, isolated trees, unprotected gazebos, rain or picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communications towers, flagpoles, lightpoles, bleachers (metal or wood), metal fences, convertibles, golf carts, water (ocean, lakes, swimming pools, rivers etc.). Avoid proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people. Crouch down, put feet together, place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder. Suspend activities for 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.

When inside a building avoid use of the telephone, taking a shower, washing your hands, doing dishes, or any contact with conductive surfaces with exposure to the outside such as metal door or window frames, electrical wiring, telephone wiring, cable TV wiring, plumbing, etc.

No place is absolutely safe from the lightning threat, however, some places are safer than others. Large enclosed structures (substantially constructed buildings) tend to be much safer than smaller or open structures. In general, fully enclosed metal vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses, vans, fully enclosed farm vehicles, etc. with the windows rolled up provide good shelter from lightning. Avoid contact with metal or conducting surfaces outside or inside the vehicle.
During a Storm:

  • If someone in your home is dependent on medical electricity, make arrangements in advance for emergencies.
  • Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker while standing on a wet or damp surface.
  • If you see a downed power line, call the police.
  • Avoid driving over downed power lines. Avoid power lines.
  • Secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture that could blow away or cause damage or injury. Take light objects inside.
  • Shutter windows securely and brace outside doors.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest storm information.
  • Do not handle any electrical equipment or telephones because lightning could follow the wire.
  • Television sets are particularly dangerous at this time.
  • Avoid bathtubs, water faucets, and sinks because metal pipes can transmit electricity

Driving During Thunderstorms:

  • Pull safely onto the shoulder of the road away from any trees that could fall on the vehicle.
  • Stay in the car and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rains subside.
  • Avoid flooded roadways.
  • Be mindful that wet roadways are very slippery, reduce your speed.

Road trips, Holidays, and Vacations:

Begin with the car itself:

  Take it to a garage for a thorough once-over and pay particular attention to the brakes, tires (including the spare), headlights, turn signals, and the engine itself… and don't forget the wiper blades.
  Equip the car with a first-aid kit, road maps, flares and a flashlight. Put sunglasses within easy reach.
  On the day of the trip, adjust all mirrors properly and don't stack luggage in a way that will obscure the driver's view.

Follow these additional safety rules:

  Wear seat belts. Secure babies in safety seats.
  Drive during the day, if possible, and allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
  Keep within speed limits and observe all other rules of the road.
  Drive defensively. Keep your cool when another driver is discourteous or careless.
  Stop from time to time for meals and refreshment breaks. Pull over at a roadside rest during heavy rainstorms or high winds, or when a stinging insect enters the car.
  Keep restless children occupied with a board game or a similar activity. But don't allow horseplay.
  Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or medications that slow your reflexes.
  Never drive when you become fatigued or sleepy.
  If you're behind schedule, don't rush. It's better to lose a few hours than your life

Auto Safety Checklist:
Have you taken the necessary steps to make your car as safe as possible for infants, small children and pets? The following is a checklist to help you with your assessment:

  1. Do you have a safety seat for your infant?
  2. Are the seatbelts and shoulder harnesses in your vehicle in working order? Do your children use them?
  3. Is your vehicle in safe working condition? Tires, brakes, suspension system, windshield wipers, the headlights and the ability of the car to absorb an impact.
  4. Do you ever allow children to ride in the bed of a pick-up truck? This is very dangerous.
  5. As a driver, do you set a good example for your children? In other words, do you observe speed limits and other rules of the road, including never drinking while driving?
  6. Do you ever leave children or pets in an unattended vehicle with the windows up in the heat of the summer? This is very dangerous and can be deadly even for a "just a few minutes".

Protecting Yourself When Walking at Night:

  • Avoid walking or running alone at night. Instead go walking or jogging with a friend.
  • Don't use headphones while walking, driving or jogging.
  • Always walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Avoid the use of short cuts.
  • After dark, keep away from large bushes or doorways where someone could be hiding.
  • Always stay near the curb.
  • If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, answer from a distance. Do not approach the vehicle.
  • If followed, go immediately to an area with lights and people. If needed, turn around and walk in the opposite direction, your follower will also have to reverse directions.
  • Do not display cash openly, especially when leaving an ATM.

Bicycle Safety:
Riding a bike is fun. By following these National SafeKids guidelines you can increase your chances for a fun and safe ride and teach your children the basics of bike safety too:

  1. Always wear bike helmet when riding a bike. No person, one or more years of age and less than fourteen years of age, shall operate a bicycle unless such person is wearing a helmet meeting the standards of the American National Standards Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundation's Standards for Protective Headgear for use in Bicycling.
  2. Restrict cycling to paths and driveways until children can show how well they ride and can follow basic rules of the road (usually around age 9).
  3. Teach children to follow basic safety rules:
    • Stop, look and listen before riding out into traffic from driveway, sidewalk, alley or parking lot. Look left, right and left again. When there's no traffic, enter roadway.
    • Ride on the right with traffic.
    • Obey stop signs and red lights (kids under 12 should walk, not ride bike through busy intersection).
    • Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left at intersections.

Ticks are a nuisance and real threat for contracting Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Here are some suggestions to help prevent these diseases when spending time in brushy, wooded or tall grassy areas:

  1. Dress properly with long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Keep shirts tucked into pants and pants tucked into socks. Wear sneakers or hiking boots instead of sandals. Choose light-colored fabric so you can spot and brush off ticks. Apply approved tick repellent and use as directed on the label.
  2. Remove ticks promptly. Wash the bitten area with soap and water. Disinfect area with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and consult a physician immediately.
  3. Control tick habitats around your home, mow weeds and grass around the house and discourage birds or animals from coming close to the house. Move bird feeders away from homes, stack firewood and lumber away from the house, and remove piles of stones and other debris that can harbor mice.

Swings, slides and jungle gyms provide amusement, but playground injuries are the leading cause of injuries for children ages 5-14 and according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, most injuries occur on: swings, monkey bars, climbers, slides and falls to the surface.

To prevent falls and other scrapes the following are suggested:

  • Do a daily check of playground equipment and its surroundings. Look for sharp edges, rough surfaces and loose or broken parts. Replace or repair equipment. Keep area clean from glass, litter and large rocks. Check for and remove poisonous plants.
  • The most important safety precaution for reducing injury due to falls is to install an impact absorbent surface under and around playground equipment.
  • Supervise children closely to prevent misuse of equipment, such as swinging too high, running close to moving swings, or playing on equipment that is too advanced.
  • Teach children to play safely.
  • Place fencing around any surrounding water (stream, pond, drainage ditch, etc) to prevent drowning.


Credits and thanks to the Town of Ossining Police Department for publishing this list.


Link to:  Healthy Community Healthy Youth Resource Guide

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