Now that we are in the thick of summer here in St. Louis, fun summer recreational activities are becoming a regular part of our plans. Unfortunately getting out and enjoying the good weather also brings an increase in injuries. Whether you are boating, swimming, riding around on an ATV or motorcycle, or hitting the water on a wave runner or jet ski, you should always practice safety first.
I am particularly troubled by the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s recent report of 10 drowning deaths so far in June on Missouri’s rivers and lakes. Unfortunately the majority of the drowning accidents we do see disproportionately involve small children.
Keep safety on your mind this summer as you participate in the following activities:
BE PREPARED FOR HOT TEMPERATURES
Heat stroke can strike anyone, but people who work outdoors and the elderly are particularly at risk. Wear loose fitting, lightly colored clothing and stay ultra-hydrated with sports drinks. An early warning sign of heat stroke is cramping in the legs. If you experience cramping, take a break from your activity and hydrate yourself until the cramping is gone.
SWIMMING AND BOATING
Never leave a child unattended near a body of water. It doesn’t take much water for a person to drown. Make sure that young children are equipped with proper flotation devices like water wings and life vests. Also beware of diving in water of unknown depths and never swim alone. When boating, never operate the vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol and always steer clear of people floating and swimming in the water.
FUN WITH FIREWORKS
Every year we see people with blast injuries, burns, scars and disfigurement from handling fireworks. It is best to let sober adults handle fireworks and to keep children a safe distance away.
RIDING YOUR BIKE
It goes without saying that everyone regardless of age should wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, but I will include that reminder in here anyway. Cyclists should wear brightly colored clothing and make sure that their bikes have reflectors appropriate for nighttime driving.
ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES, DIRT BIKES AND MOTORCYCLES
Here is a sad statistic: Children account for 30 percent of all ATV related deaths and emergency room treated injuries. Do not allow children who are not old enough to drive to operate these recreational vehicles. Keep in mind that most ATVs are not designed to carry a passenger and you should always wear a helmet.
MOWING THE LAWN
We tend to see a lot of projectile object injuries that stem from accidents with lawnmowers. Be sure to remove sticks and stones from the lawn prior to mowing. Always wear hearing and eye protection and shoes that provide superior projection. That means no sandals when cutting the grass.