Summer Vacation Safety Tips
By Logan Singleton
Summertime getaways and vacations are often the high points of any year. Many memories are made while enjoying a well-deserved break from school, work, and the monotony of our everyday schedules. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement and forget that travel safety is an important thing to consider at every stage of your journey. Here are some summer vacation tips that will keep your family safe and focused on fun.
Home Preparation Prior to Vacation
It may be tempting to simply lock up and leave all your worries behind, but taking extra care to leave your home or apartment prepared for your extended absence can ensure you return to a happy, peaceful abode. Take a second to do a walk around the perimeter of your home, making sure that all windows are securely locked, alarm systems are working properly, and that all non-essential appliances have been unplugged. It’s particularly important that you check to make sure gas appliances are turned off. Gas leaks are a health hazard as the accumulation of dangerous carbon monoxide gas can cause respiratory distress or explosions if not properly ventilated. If you return home and smell natural gas, immediately evacuate to a safe location and call the fire department so that the situation can be safely assessed.
Inspect Your Vehicle Closely
The US Bureau of Transportation cites that nine out of 10 summer trips in the United States are taken by personal vehicle. That means that, if you’re reading this, you’re probably loading up the family car for your next vacation. The number of automotive accidents and deaths rise during the summer months as more people take to the highways. Here are some key points to remember before hitting the road.
• Check that your tires have adequate tread and are properly inflated. Tire blowouts can cause auto accidents, and worn-down treads can potentially lead to dangerous hydroplaning during inclement weather.
• Make sure that all seat belts are in working order and are fastened during travel. Seatbelts, when properly worn, reduce the chance of death by 45% and injuries by 50%.
• Test your wiper blades and confirm that they are functioning properly. Old, damaged wiper blades can result in decreased visibility on the road, increasing the risk of an auto accident.
• Give all headlights and turn signals a thorough test. Driving during nighttime without functioning headlights and safety signals is a danger to yourself and other motorists.
Pack Smart & Be Prepared
Whether it’s preparing medications or stocking up on the essentials, a well-prepared trip is a successful one. We’ve compiled a basic checklist of things to consider:
• Be sure to pack all daily medications ahead of time with the original bottles. It’s not uncommon for trips to run longer than expected, so having a surplus of prescriptions prevents you from having to scramble for emergency refills away from home.
• Bring plenty of water and nutrient-dense food along for the ride. Maintaining proper nutrition is essential while traveling. Don’t rely solely on rest areas or pit stops for food and drink.
• Throw a first aid kit in the back or glove box. Even minor cuts and abrasions can lead to infection, so it’s wise to stay prepared with plenty of sterile bandages, gauze, and cleansing wipes to keep your family safe until comprehensive medical care is available.
• Get a solid night of rest before getting behind the wheel. Being tired while operating a vehicle is dangerous. Be sure to get plenty of sleep prior to driving any distance. If you start getting tired, consider pulling over to rest or switch spots with a friend or family member.
Beach Day Dos & Dont’s
If getting away from the city and spending time with your toes in the sand is your ideal vacation, you’re not alone. Americans have had a long-standing infatuation with beachside getaways. While a day on the shore can be relaxing, it can also be dangerous. Here are our dos and don’ts at the beach.
• Wear plenty of skin-safe SPF on all exposed areas and reapply consistently and often throughout the day. It’s important to remember that extended time in the water will move your reapplication timeline up. Always search for natural, non-toxic sunscreens when possible.
• Wear hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves. Stay beneath an umbrella if one is available to avoid long, uninterrupted sessions in the sun.
• Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Nothing beats good old-fashioned H2O when you’re at the beach. If you decide to consume alcohol, it’s even more important to drink water to avoid any risk of heat-related illness. Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion by reading our blog post.
• Avoid sun exposure if a sunburn has already occurred. Aloe vera and aspirin can be used to treat sunburn. If your skin starts to blister, seek medical treatment at a local clinic or urgent care.
• Venture too far into the water without a floatation device. Dangerous rip currents and undertow can result in drowning.
• Let small children play near the water unsupervised. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.
• Go into the water while inebriated. Alcohol impairs basic motor skills and can cause a dangerous situation.
• Play in the water without a lifeguard on duty. If you arrive at a beach without a lifeguard, you are encouraged to stay out of the water.
• Go into the water during red flag or double red flag. These flags are used by the lifeguards as a way to warn beachgoers that the water conditions are unsafe. Please observe all posted safety signs.
We hope that you and your family stay safe during your summer vacation this year. Never hesitate to call 911 or ask for help in case of an emergency.
Disclaimer: This content is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.