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For Release: May 25, 2010
Contact:  Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Enjoy Summer – Safely!

Summer is almost here! Summer is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends outdoors, and to enjoy outside activities. It is also important to keep safety precautions in mind while enjoying the warm weather, especially for children. Nearly half of all unintentional injury-related deaths among children occur during the summer months of May through August. The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Injury Prevention Service, Safe Kids USA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provide the following safety tips to keep Oklahoma children and families safe and healthy this summer.

Swim and Boat Safely

  1. Children should only swim in designated and well-supervised swimming areas. It is important to remember that there is no substitute for active adult supervision when children are in or around water.
  2. Products such as swimming noodles and water wings are not safety devices – they should never be used in the place of life jackets or personal flotation devices.
  3. Properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets should be used by individuals when boating or participating in water activities, regardless of swimming ability or experience, size of boat, or distance to be traveled.
  4. Learn CPR and other life saving techniques, and know how to use rescue equipment.

Check for Children in Cars

Vehicles heat up quickly, even in cooler temperatures. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise to over 110°F when outside temperatures are only in the mid 60s.

  1. Never leave any child unattended in a vehicle for any period of time, even if the windows are open. A child’s body temperature can increase 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.
  2. Check to make sure all children are taken out of the vehicle when you reach your destination.
  3. If transporting children and cargo, such as groceries, take children from the vehicle first.
  4. If you are transporting a child and it is not normally in your routine, set up a reminder for yourself – a phone call from a friend or spouse, leave a note on the vehicle dashboard, or place something you need (such as a purse or briefcase) in the back seat so you will check the back seat and see the child before you leave the vehicle.
  5. Keep vehicle doors and trunks closed and locked; keep vehicle keys out of reach and out of sight. Up to one-third of heat-related deaths have occurred when children were playing in unlocked vehicles and became trapped inside.

Protect Yourself from the Sun and Heat

  1. When spending time outdoors, adults and children should use sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 15 with UVA and UVB protection. Reapply sunscreen (even waterproof sunscreen) at least every two hours, even on cloudy days. Remember – sunscreen reduces damage from UV radiation, but does not prevent it.
  2. Seek shade and avoid sun exposure, especially from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are the strongest. Remain well hydrated before and during prolonged outdoor activity.
  3. Wear protective, lightweight clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants when possible. Wearing sunglasses and hats with a 4-inch wide brim also help block the head, face, neck and ears from harmful rays from the sun.

Play Safe

  1. Bicycles, ATVs, dirt bikes, and other riding toys (skateboards, in-line skates, scooters) go fast, and falls from riding equipment may cause serious injury and/or death. Appropriate helmets and safety gear should be worn at all times. Children should be taught to practice and obey traffic safety rules.
  2. Playground equipment should be age appropriate, and equipment and landing surfaces should be maintained regularly. Check for hot metal surfaces on playground equipment before children play on them.

Travel Safe

  1. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to the child's height, weight, and age. Check for hot surfaces, such as belt buckles, before buckling up.
  2. Slow down! Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists on the roadways; watch for children playing in or around driveways and local streets.
  3. Don't drink and drive, and don't let friends or family drink and drive.
  4. Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or scooter.

For more information, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430, or your local county health department.  Enjoy the summer – safely! 

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