Summer Safety



You've heard it again and again. Bike helmets save lives and prevent many permanent head injuries. It's important to model responsible, safe bike-riding behavior for children however young.

Everyone riding a bike, from infants in carrier seats to adults should ALWAYS wear a bike helmet. Even when your young ones are just learning to ride that foot to floor trike, make a helmet standard gear. Statistics show that when one child in a group of children wears a hel met, it's more likely that others will also. Peer pressure can work in everyone's favor if you instill good habits early.


  • Don't ride wearing loose clothing that can get tangled in wheels or chains.
Road Manners
  • Signal turns properly so that other riders and motorists know you intend to turn.
  • Yield the right of way whenever traffic rules or common sense indicate. Being right doesn't help injuries heal.
  • Obey all traffic signals.
  • Know your local traffic ordinances regarding the use of bicycles on roadways and sidewalks.
  • When riding on sidewalks ride slowly, give verbal warnings when approaching someone and yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Kids and Bikes

Make sure of the following:

  • That kids know what streets they are allowed to ride on, and that they check for vehicle traffic whenever they enter a street. Always know where your children are supposed to be riding.
  • That kids never ride friends on racks and handlebars.
  • Trick riding should only be attempted when full safety gear is worn and in the presence of a trained instructor who can teach the proper methods.
  • In case of a breakdown call a trusted adult for help. Teach them that they should never accept a ride from a stranger or enter a stranger's house. Go to a store, a payphone or a police officer to call and then wait with the bike, away from traffic and in an open area, for the adult to come.



  • Never leave a lighted barbecue unattended.
  • Keep small children and pets away from any lighted grill.
Charcoal Grills

Always store lighter fluid in the original container, away from flames andout of the sun. never store it in the trunk of a car for long periods of time.

Never squirt lighter fluid onto an already charcoal lighted fire.

Never substitute gasoline or kerosene for charcoal lighter fluid.

Wait until flames die down before approaching a lighted grill.

Make sure that all coals are completely extinguished before emptying a grill or leaving the area.

Gas grills

Inspect all connections before lighting the grill.

Never overfill propane tanks

Food Safety

When cooking any food on the grill, make sure flames are not in contact with the food. Never flame char meat.

Cook all meats to the appropriate internal temperature. Overcooking can create heterocyclic amines(HCAs) and undercooking presents a risk of bacterial food poisoning.

Grilling Meat and Cancer Risk.

  • Overcooking any food, but especially meat, can create HCAs. HCAs are known cancer causing agents. Overcooking meats causes a chemical reaction inthe meat that results in high levels of HCAs. Lean meats are more susceptible to this problem than fattier meats. Here are some steps that you can take to prevent this:
  • Don't rely on color. Some meats, especially ones that have been frozen can appear gray on the inside without being fully cooked. Somewhat acidic meats, like pork, can still appear pink but be fully cooked. Check the temperature of the meat.
  • Micrwave meat before grilling. This drives off many of the juices, which reduces the liklihood of HCA formation but can also make the meat dry inside..
  • Use marinades. Researchhas found that marinades tend to reduce the formation of HCAs, particularly if they are made with ingredients that are high in anti-oxidents. Barbecue sauce (especially tomatoe and sugar based ones do not reduce HCAs and may actually increase them.
  • Try mixing 10% ground fruit into ground meat (REALLY!), specifically darkly colored fruits like plums, sour cherries or red grapes. This techinique has been shown to reduce HCA formation and result in much jucier cooked meats. At least one line of products made with sour cherries is currently in use in some school districts. Depending on the fruit, it may impart a faint flavor to the meat.
Food Poisoning
  • Never leave foods sitting out in the heat and sun for any length of time. There is always a risk of bacterial food poisoning.


In 1995, there were 74,582 injuries involving lawn mowers, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission; 25,300 people are injured by riding lawn mowers each year. Of those injured, 75 are killed, 15 of which are children. Two common injuries are amputations and injuries from thrown objects.


  • Keep children and pets indoors and under supervision when mowing is in progress. NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN TO RIDE ON A LAWN TRACTOR.
  • Fuel the mower when then engine is cool, in an open space where fumes can't accumulate and cause respiratory distress or explode. If refueling during mowing, wait ten minutes for the engine to cool.
  • Wear long pants, heavy shoes and eye protection when mowing. Ear protection is also a good idea, and a dust mack if the weather has been dry.
  • Be aware of terrain. Lawn tractors can tip over and throw the rider causing injury from blades and crushing. Push mowers can get out of control and roll down hill owver the operators feet.
  • Never leave an operating mower unattended. Turn it off and take any ignition key with you.
  • Store lawn tractors with the deck lowered and all pressure off the blade.
  • Store fuel in a properly ventilated area, away from children and sources of sparks.
  • Never remove or otherwise defeat safety features built into mowers and tractors.
  • Never back-up on a lawn tractor without first checking that NO ONE IS BEHIND YOU.


The following information comes from the Consumer Product Safety Commision.

Fall Height (In Feet) From Which A Life Threatening Head Injury Would Not Be Expected
Type of Material
6 Inch Depth
9 Inch Depth
12 Inch Depth
Double Shredded Bark Mulch
Wood Chips
Fine Sand
Fine Gravel

Use Zones
A use zone, covered with a protective surfacing material, is essential under and around equipment where a child might fall. This area should be free of other equipment and obstacles onto which a child might fall.

Stationary climbing equipment and slides should have a use zone extending a minimum of 6 feet in all directions from the perimeter of the equipment.

Swings should have a use zone extending a minimum of 6 feet from the outer edge of the support structure on each side. The use zone in front and back of the swing should extend out a minimum distance of twice the height of the swing as measured from the ground to the swing hangers on support structure.

Swing Spacing - To prevent injuries from impact with moving swings, swings should not be too close together or too close to support structures. Swing spacing should be:

  • At least 8 inches between suspended swings and between a swing and the support frame.
  • At least 16 inches from swing support frame to a pendulum see-saw.
  • Minimum clearance between the ground and underside of swing seat should be 8 inches.
Swing sets should be securely anchored.

Elevated Surfaces -

Platforms more than 30" above the ground should have guardrails to prevent falls.

Sun Exposure

With Summer coming most of us will be increasing our exposure to the sun. While we tend to be very protective of our children, it might be time to rethink our strategy for minimizing exposure to damaging ultraviolet radiation.

Sunscreens have been the first item in most people's arsenal against too much sun exposure. But skin cancer rates in the US have been rising since 1973. So why aren't we seeing an improvement? Sunscreens are rated according to their ability to block Ultraviolet B radiation. but sunlight also contains UVA radiation, which is implicated in the development of skin cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinomas. So the use of high SPF sunscreens might actually increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life by giving people a false sense of security. Certainly it doesn't make sense to stop using sunscreen, but it also doesn't make sense to rely on it solely for protection. The effectiveness of TODAY's high SPF value sunscreens won't be known for decades because cancer takes years to develop.

In the meantime, you can take some basic precautions to minimize your risks....

    • Schedule outdoor activities outside of the hours of 10AM to 4PM when the sun's rays are the strongest.
    • Wear protective clothing and stay in the shade.
    • Avoid sun exposure as much as possible if you are genetically predisposed to skin cancer or if you have other risk factors, like numerous skin moles.
For more information on skin cancer and sunscreens, visit The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute.

Sunburn and Tanning History and Recommended SPF*

Always burns easily; rarely tans:  20 to 30

 Always burns easily; tans minimally:  2 to under 20

 Burns moderately; tans gradually:  8 to under 12

 Burns minimally; always tans well:  4 to under 8

 Rarely burns, tans profusely:  2 to under 4

 *Sun Protection Factor

 (Source: FDA's 1993 tentative final monograph on sunscreen drug products)
FDA Consumer magazine (June 1996)

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