Make Better Choices this Summer

Keeping your family safe and healthy in warm weather.

My kids summer fun circa 1990

As summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, our daily lives shift focus and I find myself spending lots of time talking to friends and family about making safe and healthy choices for the warmer months ahead. As this lovely season begins, we’re faced with loads decisions for our children and families preparing for summer. This year, make a commitment to finding the best ways to keep your loved ones safe and happy. So here are some of the biggies:

1. Swimming and Water Safety

Teach the kids to swim! Statistics from Center of Disease Control show that fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years of age. The statistics around disabilities in children that occur from non-fatal drowning incidents are also staggering. These stats alone will propel you to get out the floaties for the little ones and make time for swim lessons this season.

2. Home Injury Prevention

Now is the time to clean up the garage and tool shed, wipe off the barbeque, and pull out those patio chairs. It is also the perfect opportunity to get your outdoor space safe for summertime fun or gardening. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website is a great resource for the prevention of injuries at home and at play. The all-too-common home and recreation-related injuries –drowning, falls, fires, and poisoning — account for about a third of all injury-related emergency department visits. But these are the accidents that can be prevented. So look around your home and yard today and see where you can make improve your personal space for both kids and adults. Are there old cans of paint, cleansers, or gardening products sitting under cabinets or left exposed? Are your toddlers wandering around a garden full of snail bait? Take a moment to survey your space and remove unused or old products safely. Let’s keep the people we love free from harm.

3. Teen Driving

The summer usually finds teens with more free time to take driving lessons. Make sure to get your teens involved in an ongoing conversation about driving safety. It is hard to believe but about 5,000–6,000 teenagers die unnecessary deaths per year from driving accidents. Car crashes caused by teen drivers are the #1 killer of teens in America today. Take your teen out to practice driving many, many times before handing over the keys.

While searching for good resources, I found that Allstate Insurance has great driving awareness and prevention programs online that you and your teens can access easily. Learn the facts about teen driving and safe driving tips, too. I found this site particularly helpful.

4. Sun Protection

After swimming and driving lessons, sun protection seems like a simple task to accomplish this summer. But the latest news tells us that our most common name-brand sunscreen products may not be adequately protecting us from damaging rays and even worse, could be harming us with unhealthy chemicals we would not want to shmear on our children or ourselves. Long gone are the days that we can casually grab any sunscreen off the shelf to protect us from sunburn. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide to find the safest sunscreens. And remember, cloudy days are dangerous to our skin, too.

Although most of these ideas may seem obvious, it’s my experience that we need to be continually vigilant. None of us ever take quite enough time to learn all the important details about prevention and then take the necessary steps to put the ideas into practice. Whatever we can share with others is a real gift to our friends and family. If we inspire one person to make a change — then it’s worth it.

Have a happy and safe summer!