Stay Safe this Summer

After what seems like an endless winter, summer is just around the corner. While summer is filled with lots of fun, carefree activities, it’s important to not get careless. Driving accidents involving teens, drownings, and bike accidents hit their peak during the summer. (OK, I know the last two are obvious since most people don’t go swimming in the middle of January, but it’s still important to note.)

Here are several essential tips to keep you safe as you head outside this summer:

Cover your head: Riding a bike or scooter? Make sure you’re wearing a helmet, whether you are an adult or a child. Your head contains a precious organ – your brain – and you need the helmet to protect it. Even if you’re an experienced bike rider or not going a far distance, accidents happen so don’t forget to grab your helmet.

Slather on sunscreen: While a sunburn may hurt for a day, it can cause lasting damage. Always wear sunscreen, Even on a cloudy day, the sun’s rays are still filtering through, causing damage to your skin cells. An estimated 80 percent of the damage caused to our skin happens before age 18. When using sunscreen, make sure you apply enough: a shot glass full of lotion is a good amount and reapply it after you’ve been in the water or every two hours.

Stay safe around water: On a hot summer day, nothing is nicer than jumping into a refreshing pool. But every day, an estimated 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are younger than age 14. When near water, always keep an eye on children – even if they are good swimmers since they can still cramp up or have another problem that interferes with their ability to swim. It’s also wise that adults never swim alone since the same thing can happen to them, too.

Practice safe driving. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.  According to AAA, 7 of the 10 deadliest days of the year for teens are during the summer months since more teens than ever are on the road and they’re on the road for longer periods of time. They’re also more likely to engage in risky behavior – speeding and drinking and driving – in the summer. It’s important to always follow posted speed limits, don’t drink and drive, and don’t text and drive.

While it may sound like most of these rules are important for teens and children, it’s important for adults to follow them all, too. Your children watch what you do and if you tell them one thing and do another, it sends the message that it’s not important for them to follow the rules either.

Wishing you fun and safe summer!

Scott Schuldes is a certified family nurse practitioner and associate medical director at ThedaCare Physicians-Hilbert. He can be reached at scott.schuldes@thedacare.org.