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May 7, 2012

Spring safety tips

by: Anne McGinness Kearse

Spring brings with it the promise of more sunshine, less rain and days full of endless possibility. Surrounded by such optimism and beauty, what could possibly go wrong? Everything and nothing, depending upon how well you are prepared. Organizations like Safe Kids USA, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, provide family education and advocacy for better laws to help keep children safe and healthy. Education is the first step to preparedness. According to the CDC, accidental injury accounts for a large percentage of adult deaths in the United States and the majority of deaths among children under the age of 14. That said, caution and safety should be high on your to-do list when enjoying gardening,  hiking, biking and the many other springtime activities we all enjoy alone and with our friends and family.

Yard Safety

Strangely enough, taking care of the yard poses more dangers than we realize. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following tips to stay safe. Read the full list here.

  • Keep children indoors and away from power equipment. Children move quickly and are attracted to mowing and other power equipment activity.
  • Be sure that safety devices on equipment are in place and functioning properly before starting work.
  • Unplug electric tools, and disconnect spark plug wires on gasoline-powered tools before making adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts.
  • Be sure power tools are turned off and made inoperable if they must be left unattended.
  • Handle gas carefully. Remember never to fill gasoline tanks while equipment is operating or when equipment is still hot. Wipe up spills. Store gas in an approved container away from the house. Finally, never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline.

Safety on Two Wheels

Feel like a bike ride? Follow these tips, recommended by the NHTSA. Read the full list.

  • Don’t forget your helmet. Ever. Also, be sure that it fits properly.
  • Check your tires and your brakes to make sure they are in working order.
  • Watch out for road hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, sticks, leaves and dogs.
  • Avoid riding at night. If you must ride at night wear reflective clothing and make sure that your bike has reflectors.

Boating Safety Tips

If you are planning a day on the water, whether it includes boating on a lake or a day at the pool, follow these tips to stay safe. Get more safety tips from Safe Kids USA.

  • Make sure kids have life jackets that fit properly and are designed for their weight. You can set a good example by wearing one yourself.
  • If you plan on drinking, don’t forget to designate a sober driver and avoid swimming as it impairs your judgment and coordination and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.
  • Pay attention to local forecasts and seek shelter at the first sign of bad weather.
  • When boating on the waterways, it is important to always be aware of what is in front of the boat and what is coming towards it.

Swimming Safety Tips

  • Try to swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Obey all rules and posted signs.
  • Beware the terrible “too’s” – too cold, too tired, too far away, too much sun, etc.
  • Set rules based on swimming abilities. For example, ask less experienced swimmers to stay in water less than chest deep.
  • Be knowledgeable of your environment and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents or obstructions.

Sun Safety Tips

With all of the beauty of spring bursting and blooming around, it may be easy to forget the basics. Get more sun safety tips from the EPA.

  • Wear sunscreen. Reapply it every two hours.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
  • Seek shade. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Now that it’s spring, and winter has gone into hibernation, get out and enjoy it. BUT- be smart and stay safe.