The great outdoors have never beckoned more than during a nationwide pandemic lockdown. Use these safety staples to ensure your taste of freedom doesn’t get cut short by heat-related illness and injury
Sunscreen. Block out dangerous UVB rays to avoid a painful sunburn that could later lead to skin cancer. Pick a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You also want a product that’s water resistant with a minimum SPF of 30.
Umbrellas. Get extra protection from harmful rays and high temperatures with some portable shade. Whether you’re taking a stroll or plopping down on the lawn, umbrellas offer easy, convenient protection from sun exposure.
Water.This is almost a no-brainer, but staying hydrated is one of the most effective ways to avoid heat stroke. Stave off dehydration with a collapsible water bottle that’s BPA-free and comes with a handy travel strap.
Pet Protection. Animals are prone to overheating just like the rest of us. Keep pets comfortable and safe with products that block UVB and UVA rays and help regulate temperature. And don’t forget to keep your playful pals hydrated.
2. Practice Pool Safety
Swimming and lounging by the pool are summer standbys, but pools present a mess of safety hazards. On top of teaching everyone in your household basic water safety, keep your pool days splashy instead of scary with these smart safety measures.
Pool Fence. If the pool is at your home, it’s worth it to add a secure barrier that keeps little ones and pets from sneaking in. Whether your pool is in-ground or above-ground, there are affordable fencing options available.
Gate Sensor. Always know who’s accessing the pool with a sensor that sends an automatic alert whenever the gate opens or closes. You don’t need to buy something fancy—contact sensors from most home security brands are both cheap and easy to install.
Kids GPS Tracker. If you have a wanderer or a smarty-pants who can get around gates and sensors, use a wearable GPS tracker to keep little ones safe near the pool. Look for features that include water-resistance and geofencing.
Summer Safety Tip
Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you plan to be outside and reapply every 40 to 80 minutes, as specified on the bottle. And if you get wet, it’s time to lotion up again.
Security Cam. Keep a literal eye on the swimming pool at all times with a wireless security camera. Make sure the camera you choose is water resistant and uses a mobile app to send you instant notifications when movement is detected.
Yard work is par for the course during the summer months. And if you do it right, you can improve your safety quotient right along with your curb appeal.
Lock up tools. It’s easy to leave gardening tools, hoses, or even the lawnmower sitting out when you finish a big project. But these items are dangerous for children and pets. Always put tools away, and add a lock to your garage, shed, or tool chest to keep curious hands out.
Secure chemicals. Fertilizer, bug sprays, and plant chemicals are often poisonous. Never use old beverage containers (like gallon jugs or 2-liter soda bottles) to store dangerous chemicals because kids might mistake them for a tasty drink. And always lock up hazardous lawn-care helpers when you’re done using them.
Eliminate hidey-holes. Unkempt hedges and piles of branches and other yard waste are open invitations to adventurous little ones and would-be burglars. Don’t give anyone a place to hide in your yard. Keep ornamental landscaping trimmed and promptly pick up any clippings.
Summer Safety Tip
Plant thorny bushes near ground-floor windows to deter intruders. Just make sure you have a safe escape plan mapped out in case those windows need to be used in the event of a fire.
4. Be Road Trip Ready
With planes grounded and amusement parks shut down, it’s the perfect year to hit the open road. But before you do, make sure you’re set up for success with these road trip safety essentials
Water. We might sound like a broken record, but you need to stay hydrated even when you’re not out climbing a mountain or frolicking on the beach. And, if your car breaks down or overheats, extra stores of water can be a lifesaver. For drinking, make sure to restock water regularly so plastic and other toxins don’t leach in.
First Aid. Make sure your travel first aid kit is in tip-top shape with basics like antibacterial ointment, bandages, gauze, and an emergency blanket.
Car Seats. Before you hit the open road, give your baby car seats and booster seats a safety check. Make sure child restraints are installed correctly and double-check that everyone still has the proper protection for their weight and height.
Fire Extinguisher. You’re never going to miss having a fire extinguisher in your car until you need one. Be prepared to stop a small blaze from growing out of control with a car fire extinguisher. Look for one with a secure mounting bracket for safe travel.
Pet Restraints. Kiddos aren’t the only ones who need to be secured in a moving vehicle. Make sure your four-legged friends can travel safely too. Whether you choose a buckle-in harness or tie down a crate in the back, don’t pull out of the driveway without the right car safety setup for your fur babies.
Pandemic road trip rules
Thanks to the novel coronavirus, even longstanding traditions like the family road trip need some safety tweaks. Keep these tips in mind if you’re hitting the road this summer.
Skip risky visits. Avoid visiting anyone who’s either been sick or is at high risk for COVID-19. It’s a bummer to skip your great aunt Mary when you’re in her city, but it’s more important to do your part to help keep her safe and healthy.
Pack personal protective gear. Things like face masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap, and sanitizing wipes are a must. Stock up (but don’t hoard more than you need!) so you don’t have to go on the hunt for these precious provisions during your cross-country trek.
Pick your destination carefully. Steer clear of crowded places like amusement parks, high-traffic national landmarks, and enclosed spaces like museums. Use these safety “restrictions” as a challenge to discover new things you’d never explore normally.
Limit stops along the road. Every time you leave your car, you’re increasing risk—both for yourself and those you come in contact with. Grab all the snacks at once (or use drive throughs) and try to space out bathroom breaks. Whenever you stop, be sure to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before climbing back into your car.
It’s important to note that the CDC recommends staying home over any kind of travel. But if you’re not going to stay home, check out the CDC website for more tips about how to travel safely (by plane, train, or automobile) during the pandemic.
5. Keep Watch When on Vacation
Vacations are meant to help us relax and recharge, but it’s difficult to do if you’re worried about your home. Add some extra security before you hit the road so that the only stress you leave with is the inevitable chorus of “are we there yet?”
Security System. Nothing provides better reassurance that all is safe and sound than a monitored home security system. With 24/7 professional monitoring, a team of pros keep an eye on your house every minute you’re relaxing on the beach or toasting marshmallows around the campfire.
Doorbell Camera. See and talk to visitors from anywhere with a video doorbell camera. You can instruct delivery people about where to leave packages, remind your closet-raiding sister that you’re in paradise, or scare away a suspicious stranger.
Smart Door Lock. If you’ve got a dog that needs to be walked or plants that need care while you’re away, a smart door lockmakes it easy to let caretakers in without having to hand out a bunch of spare keys.
Summer Safety FAQ
What are the warning signs of heat stroke?
According to The Mayo Clinic, these are some of the most common signs of heat stroke.
A core body temperature of 104℉ or 40℃
Red or flushed skin
Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting
Confusion, agitation, delirium, and other signs of an altered mental state
Increased pulse or racing heart rate
Shallow, rapid breathing
How do I help someone with heat stroke?
If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, get help immediately. Call 911, and take measures to cool the person down.
Get the person out of the heat.
Take off any extra clothing.
Use cool water to bring down the core body temperature (place them in a tub or shower, use a hose, mist them with cool water, or use ice packs. Or apply cold towels to the back of the neck, head, armpits, and groin).
What are the risks for skin cancer?
Some of the things that can increase your risk of skin cancer include fair skin, moles, excessive sun exposure, tanning beds, and a history of sunburns. It’s never too late to take precautions, though.
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more