As the sun shines and temperatures soar, it’s tempting to jump into outdoor activities. Summer is a time for adventure, but it’s important to prioritize safety during these warmer months.

Teresa Brunt, RN and trauma outreach coordinator of Intermountain Medical Center, recently shared insight on ABC4 TV news on choosing the right summer gear. Whether you’re biking, swimming, or hitting the road for a family vacation, these five essential safety tips will ensure a summer of exploration. Grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in.

1. Helmets – one size doesn’t fit all

Whether you’re biking, riding a motorbike, playing water sports, or exploring on an ATV, always wear a helmet. But remember, a good helmet isn’t just any helmet. It needs to be properly fitted and designed specifically for the activity at hand. So, before you embark on your summer escapades, make sure you’ve got your head in the right gear!

“They are all structurally different, meant to meet whatever activity you do,” said Teresa. “You want to make sure the certification on those helmets is approved and safe for the activity you’re doing.”

We’ve shared stories on the importance of wearing helmets before. Don’t compromise on safety! Choosing the right helmet and wearing it consistently can save your life.

2. Life jackets – stay afloat, stay safe

Think you’re an Olympic-level swimmer? That’s great, but even the most experienced swimmers should wear a life jacket when doing water activities. Life jackets are essential for everyone, regardless of swimming ability. Remember to choose a life jacket that is size-appropriate and properly fitted.

“You want to make sure it’s measured for you,” said Teresa.

Our caretakers often team up with first responders to spread the word about water safety, including life jackets. This is the first step, so other water safety tips should be reviewed.

Wearing a life jacket provides an added layer of safety in the water, especially in unpredictable situations. Whether you’re boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding, a life jacket is your trusty companion for a safe and buoyant summer!

3. Water watch – appoint a group lifeguard

Splashing around in the water is part of summer fun, but it’s crucial to keep an eye on everyone’s safety. According to the CDC, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children 1-14 years of age. Designating an adult as the “water watcher” can be the difference between life or death.

The National Drowning Prevention Alliance provided guidelines for an appropriate water watcher:

  • Is aged 16 and up
  • Has ability to recognize someone in distress, or alert someone nearby who can
  • Is CPR-certified or near someone who is
  • Has a phone to dial 911
  • Has a floating/reaching object nearby to rescue with
  • Is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol

One water watcher can be appointed, or qualifying adults can take turns observing those swimming. By having a dedicated watcher, someone is always ready to respond to potential emergencies. It’s all about staying safe while having a splash-tastic time!

4. Seat belts – buckle in to save a life

Road trips and summer vacations go hand in hand, so remember to buckle up! Road fatalities increase during the summer, and depending on where you are, even double compared to other months.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported nearly 15,000 lives saved from seat belts in 2017. Protect yourself and your loved ones by wearing seat belts at all times, regardless of the distance of your journey. Safety starts with a click!

“Please take the time to put your seat belt on,” said Teresa. “Just take those few seconds to click it, and be on your way.”

5. Car seats – secure precious cargo

Traveling with young children? Car seat safety is paramount. Take a look at your child’s car seat and see if it’s damaged or expired. If damaged, properly replace the car seat. If expired, and most car seats expire in six years, find a suitable replacement.

The Intermountain Primary Children’s hospital provides free in-person or virtual car seat checks. These checks, completed by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, provide insight on keeping your precious cargo safe!

A properly installed and used car seat can significantly reduce the risk of injuries during travel, providing you with peace of mind as you hit the road with your kiddos.

As you embark on your adventures, remember that safety is key to unlocking an unforgettable summer. You can enjoy outdoor activities knowing you’ve taken necessary precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe!

“We want you out enjoying it,” said Teresa. “Have the right gear and have a safe summer!” 

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