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Red Cross Tips to Enjoy Your Summer Safely

How do you plan to enjoy this summer? Whether your plans include fun in the water, camping or grilling your favorites, the American Red Cross has some resources you can use to help you have a safe summer. And don’t forget your furry friends — there are even some safety tips to follow to help protect your pets as the weather warms up.

The American Red Cross wants everyone to have a safe summer full of leisure. Here are some important tips and resources to have fun, while staying safe this summer.

Water Safety:

In the blazing summer heat, jumping into the cold water seems particularly appealing. Instinctively, we all rush to feel the coolness to combat the heat waves encapsulating us. Consequently, on a hot sunny day, a trip to the pool or lake is the perfect solution for many families.

Every day, an average of 11 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning — and one in five of those are children 14 or younger according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Red Cross wants everyone to know critical safety knowledge and skills that could save your life in and around the water. We encourage families to build confidence in the water by learning to be safe, making good choices, learning to swim and how to handle emergencies. The best way to have fun in and around the water is to first make sure all members of your household are “water smart” and know how to swim. A plethora of water safety courses and resources are available to keep you, and your family safe from harm.

The Red Cross offers these tips:

  1. Prevent Unsupervised Access to Water

  2. Actively Supervise: Adults should actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children as well as new swimmers. Kids should follow the rules. Designate a “water watcher”, whose sole responsibility is to keep a close eye and give constant attention to children and weak swimmers who are in or around the water until the next watcher takes over. Constant adult supervision and knowing how to swim are critical in preventing drowning.

  3. Life Jacket: Always wear a properly fitted U.S Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat and if in a situation beyond someone's skill level. Tip: to see if your life jacket is Coast-Guard approved, look for the stamp on the life jacket.

  4. Swim With a Buddy: Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair. Everyone (even experienced swimmers) should swim with a buddy, even in areas supervised by lifeguards. Always maintain constant attention and actively supervise children even when lifeguards are present.

  5. Download the Red Cross Swim App: This app, sponsored by The ZAC Foundation, has safety tips, kid-friendly videos, and activities. You should also take the free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers online course.

Don’t know how to swim? We can help! Classes to learn how to swim are available for both children and adults. Check the map for Learn-to-Swim providers in your community. Everyone should learn first aid and CPR too, so they know what to do in an emergency.

Drowning behavior is fast and silent! Unless rescued, a drowning person will last only 20 to 60 seconds before submerging. Reach or throw, don't go! In the event of an emergency, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble. Don’t go in! You could become a victim yourself.

Camping Safety:

Trekking through the beautiful greenery, watching the dazzling stars on a cool summer night, and telling ghost stories around a brilliant campfire with family and friends while roasting marshmallows are all fun ways to enjoy camping. However, it’s important to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors. If a camping trip is in your plans, know the level of ability of the people in your group and the environment around you and plan accordingly.

  1. First Aid: Pack a first aid kit to handle insect stings, sprains, cuts and bruises and other injuries that could happen to someone in your group. Take a Red Cross First Aid and CPR course and download the First Aid app so that you will know what to do in case help is delayed. You’ll learn how to treat severe wounds, broken bones, bites and stings and more.

  2. Injuries: Sprains and falls are some of the most common misfortunes travelers may face. Falls are the biggest threat, many due to poor decision-making, lack of skill or not being properly prepared. Dehydration is also a danger. Plan ahead for these dangers.

  3. Location: Share your travel plans and locations with a family member, neighbor or friend.

  4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Make sure to bring water and stay hydrated while enjoying the outdoors!

  5. Essentials: Bring nutritious food items and water, light-weight clothing to layer and supplies for any pets.

Grilling Safety:

Many people take advantage of the beautiful summer weather to grill. Grilling is more than just cooking; it’s a form of entertainment for family and friends to gather around and have quality time with one another while enjoying a delicious meal. Grilling food is so popular that more than three-quarters of U.S adults have used a grill. Yet, grilling sparks more than 10,000 home fires on average each year. To avoid this, the Red Cross offers these grilling safety tips:

  1. Supervise: Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.

  2. Grill Outdoors: Never grill indoors - not in a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.

  3. Stay Away from Grill: Make sure that everyone, especially pets and children, stay away from the grill.

  4. Keep the Grill Out in the Open: Keep the grill away from the house, deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.

  5. Long-Handed Tools: Use the long-handed tools especially made for cooking on the grill to help keep the chef safe.

Pet Safety:

The summer brings plentiful opportunities to play with pets in the brilliant sunshine. However, summer’s heat can be dangerous for your family pets. Follow these steps to take to help ensure your furry friend stays safe this summer.

  1. Vehicles: Don’t leave your pet in a hot vehicle, even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees even with the windows cracked open, which is dangerous.

  2. Heat Strokes: Animals can suffer heat stroke, a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are especially prone to heat stroke, along with overweight pets, those with extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea.

  3. Signs of Heat Stroke: Some of the signs of heat stroke in your pet are heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down, brick red gum color, fast pulse rate and being unable to get up.

  4. Handling Potential Heat Stroke: If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.

  5. Must Do in Case of Heat Stroke: Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage. Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid app for instant access on how to treat heat stroke, other emergencies and general care for cats and dogs and take the Cat and Dog First Aid Online Training course.

Wishing you a wonderful and safe summer!

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