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How to keep your family safe this summer

Health & Fitness

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This story is brought to you by Grand Peaks Medical and Dental, a multi-specialty, nonprofit, community health center in St. Anthony and Rexburg.

As you enjoy your barbecues, swimming and road trips, be aware that summer can bring a lot of mishaps and tragic accidents. Here are some tips to help you and your loved ones avoid becoming another statistic.

Actually drive

Summer traffic typically increases significantly in our area due to popular tourist destinations nearby, such as Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There are also more daylight hours, family vacations and more activities going on.

These reasons also tend to bring more drowsy and distracted drivers out on the roads. Drivers also speed more during the summer when roads are clear of snow, adding to the risk, Sgt. Jeff Edwards with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office said.

“People tend to have more irons in the fire during the summer,” Edwards said. He teaches people the three rules of driving.

  • Hands on the wheel.
  • Eyes on the road.
  • Mind on driving.

Also, you should have a travel plan that includes someone that knows when you should arrive at your destination. Keep a basic emergency kit in your car. The kit should include items such as a blanket, flashlight, small shovel, jumper cables, tow strap, reflective mirror, and some food and water.

Be smart around water

You can’t be too careful around water. About 10 people die from drowning in the United States every day, the CDC says. It’s the second leading cause of injury death in children 1 to 14 years old.

You should know the water and the conditions that you will be in. Our alpine lakes have colder temperatures that can cause hypothermia and fatigue, and strong rivers can submerge a swimmer, even with a life vest.

Here are some things to keep in mind around the water:

  • Always use the buddy system.
  • Make boating safety a priority. Use only U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when you are on the water. Wearing a properly fitted life jacket every time you are in the water can save your life.
  • Always keep a close eye on children when they are around or in water.
  • Swimming lessons are a great educational tool to help young ones learn to respect the water and how to float or swim in and around water sources.
  • Learn CPR. These skills could save a life.
  • Home pools should have a four-sided fence around them at all times.

Don’t get burned on your day in the sun

Heat-related illness can happen at any age, but infants and young children are at greatest risk. The best defense against heat stroke or heat exhaustion is prevention. Here are some prevention tips,according to the CDC:

  • Put on sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat when you are out in the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Dress in light, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave children or pets in parked cars, even with the windows cracked.
  • Try to schedule your activities in the morning or evening.

Don’t let bugs spoil your day

Use an insect repellent outdoors to prevent bites and diseases, like Zika, West Nile virus and Lyme disease, which can all be transmitted by insects. For more information on how to pick the right insect repellent and other mosquito bite prevention tips, click here.

Ticks can also be a problem this time of year. Make sure to remove them as soon as possible. Click here to learn how to properly remove a tick.

Not all animals are for petting

Do not approach that bison, no matter how tame it appears. Every year, wild animals injure visitors to our area.

Observe the 100-yard rule with bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards with bison and elk. Follow the posted speed limits and watch for animals crossing on roadways.

This summer, enjoy all the biking, hiking, fishing, and camping — and use the above tips to help keep you and your family safe!