In every family, there’s a story about the time so-and-so fell, got burned or otherwise turned a fun event into a time of stress and often grief. These things don’t have to happen, and there are some very simple ways you can prevent them from happening.
Barbecues: Charcoal burning barbecues can be a recipe for disaster, especially if there are children around. A child doesn’t always realize that the grill is full of hot coals, and could very easily run into it and get seriously burned. Where you set your grill up can help prevent this.
Another danger of this sort of grill comes with lighter fluid. The people I have watched squirt fluid onto smoldering coals have been lucky. They didn’t get burned. If you think about it, you can see the danger. If it hits the right hot spot, the flame can travel up the streaming fluid to your hand.
Golden Rule: Watch the kids and the coals. If the coals aren’t lighting properly, consider using an alternative method of getting them going. There are specially made containers sold at most locations that sell grills. You put newspaper and coals in it, and the newspaper helps light the coals. This will also prevent your burger from tasting like gasoline.
Campfires: The same rule applies for campfires as for barbecues, but there is something else to consider. Most campfires are ideal for hot dog or marshmallow toasting. Many people have been poisoned because they chose the wrong stick for this effort.
Golden Rule: Buy toasting forks. These are several feet long, keeping kids away from the fire and they aren’t toxic.
Sports: Summer is a great time for baseball, tennis and other sports. It’s also hot. Vigorous physical activity in hot weather can cause several problems, ranging from dehydration to heat stroke. When your mind is occupied on the sport, you may not notice until it’s too late. 6000 people report to the emergency room each year from heat related illnesses.
Golden Rule: Hydrate often and watch each other for signs of heat related problems. Coaches should call for water breaks on a regular basis.
Sunburn: Most of us have at least one serious sunburn story. Hopefully, the only problems have been the pain and peeling involved, but there are a couple of things that can happen. Scarring is possible, especially for really bad burns. Also, you are setting yourself up for future skin cancer dangers.
Golden Rule: Always wear sunblock when you go outside. Put it on twenty minutes before you plan to be out and about, and reapply as often as the package suggests.
Water Safety: One of our favorite ways to cool off is in the water. Large pools are required to have fences and self latching gates. Many people also install alarms so that they know if someone unauthorized went into the enclosure.
That’s not the same for backyard “kiddy pools.” These run from eighteen inches to four feet deep, and they have no safety features. At least one child per week dies in this sort of pool.
Golden Rule: Always have at least one adult watching children in small pools. It doesn’t take long for a fun afternoon to become a family tragedy.
Being on the lookout, even if you aren’t the parent, is important. If we all watch, then we can have fun safely.