Finally! Summer is here and that means more fun in the sun for you and your family. But those trips to the beach or swimming pool and even backyard barbecues increase summer burn injury risks. Stay safe this summer with these simple tips.
We all know that too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can cause painful, itchy burns. But sunburn is more than a mere aggravation. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sunburns are a significant risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Furthermore, the CDC says as little as 15 minutes in the sun is enough to damage your skin.
The easiest way to avoid sunburn is by using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15. You must reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, toweling off, or sweating. Also, remember to check expiration dates. Most sunscreens last no longer than three years.
Because no sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays, it is a good idea to follow these extra summertime safety steps when possible:
- Wear protective clothing layers
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Seek shade under an umbrella or tree
- Avoid peak sun hours if possible (10 am to 4 pm)
Barbecues and Bonfires
Summertime means spending time in your backyard. Whether you are grilling or just relaxing around the bonfire, summer burn risks are everywhere. From tiki torches to bug repellant candles, open flames can cause serious burns.
The most important step you can take to avoid backyard burns is to never leave a flame or hot grill unattended. Additionally, always keep grills and items with open flames firmly staked down to the ground and away from any buildings, foot traffic, or children’s play areas. And of course, you should always keep a fire extinguisher nearby for out-of-control fires.
- Use long-handled utensils
- Do not wear clothing with dangling fabric or frills
- Do not attempt to move a hot grill
- Be ready to extinguish fires
- Burn in a fire pit or on bare soil or sand.
- Do not light a bonfire on a windy day
- Burn only untreated hardwood without nails
- Never use lighter fluid or gasoline to accelerate a fire
One summer burn risk that many people overlook is pool chemicals. Unmaintained pool chemicals can cause serious burn injuries at both public and private pools. According to the CDC, between 2003 and 2012, an average of 4,247 people visited a U.S. emergency room for pool chemical–associated injuries. Of those people, almost half were under the age of 18.
Avoid burns from pool chemicals by:
- Regularly testing and adjusting the chemical levels in your pool
- Storing excess chemicals in a dry area away from children
- Never mixing old chemicals with new chemicals
- Not smoking while handling pool chemicals
Following these summertime safety tips will help you and your family avoid dangerous burns while having fun-filled summer. For more ways to stay safe this summer, check out our blog.