Summer Safety

Summer is a great time for enjoying water sports, grilling, picnics, and other fun activities, but it also brings some health and safety risks.  Understanding safety information that applies to summer will help prevent injuries, ultimately making your summer the best, and healthiest one yet!

Physical Activity During the Summer Months

It’s easy to get caught up in the activity/job and forget about the importance of staying hydrated and taking regular breaks.  Heat illnesses can occur quickly, and if the victim isn’t treated, the situation can become life threatening.  Watch out for signs of heat illness in yourself and others, and respond accordingly.

Heat related illnesses

Heat edemaSwelling which generally occurs among people who are not acclimatized to activities in hot conditions.  Swelling is often noticeable in the ankles.  Recovery occurs after a day or two in a cool environment.

Heat rashes – Tiny red spots on the skin which cause a prickling sensation during heat exposure. The spots are the result of inflammation caused when the ducts of sweat glands become plugged.

Heat crampsPainful spasms of the muscles. The spasms are caused by the failure of the body to replace lost body salts and usually occur after heavy sweating.

Heat exhaustion – Is caused by loss of body water and salt through excessive sweating.  Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, visual disturbances, thirst, nausea, headache, vomiting.  Recovery occurs after resting in a cool area and consuming cool salted drinks.

Heat stroke and hyperpyrexia (Elevated Body Temp)This is the most serious type of heat illnesses and requires immediate medical attention. Signs of heat stroke included body temperature often greater than 41°C, and complete or partial loss of consciousness. The signs of heat hyperpyrexia are similar except the skin remains moist. Sweating is not a good symptom of heat stress as there are two types of heat stroke.

  • Classical little or no sweating usually occurs in children, persons who are chronically ill, and the elderly.
  • Exertional body temperature rises because of strenuous exercise or work and sweating is usually present.

How can heat related illnesses be prevented?

  1. Stay hydrated – A person involved in an activity outside during a hot day loses water and salt through sweat. This loss should be compensated by water intake equal to the fluid loss. Individuals are encouraged to rehydrate every 15-20 minutes even if they do not feel thirsty.
  2. Wear light, loose fitting clothing - Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothing that permits sweat evaporation but stops radiant heat.  Tightly woven clothing that you cannot see through is best.
  3. Protect yourself – Use sunscreen with sun protection factors of at least 15 to block 93% of UV rays. Wearing UV absorbent sunglasses should block 99% of UVA and UVB rays.  Also, wear a hat and use screens or umbrellas to create shaded areas.
  4. Use fans or air conditioning Ventilation and localized air conditioning units are a couple of methods commonly used to provide a more comfortable atmosphere.
  5. Allow flexibility – Make sure to take regular, frequent breaks and permit less physically demanding activities during peak temperature periods. Rest periods in a cooler area can easily prevent or reduce heat-related illnesses.
  6. Vehicles - Do not leave children or pets unattended in automobiles – even for a few minutes. Temperatures inside automobiles can quickly exceed 130 degrees. Children and pets can die in just a few minutes in high temperatures.

Mosquito Borne Diseases

The summer months increase the potential of infection from viruses carried by mosquitoes.  The five D’s of protection include:

Avoid unprotected outdoor activity at Dusk and Dawn (when mosquitoes are most active), use DEET repellants (as directed by the manufacturer), Dress to cover skin with long sleeve shirts and pants and Drain potential mosquito breeding sites from around your house (fountains, items or containers that hold water, etc.).

Water Safety

Drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of death during the summer months for children.  It takes less than five minutes for a child to drown or suffer permanent brain damage.  Although water recreation provides hours of enjoyment and exercise for the whole family, water and children can be a deadly mix when there is an unsafe environment and inadequate supervision.

  1. Be a “Water Watcher” – Never leave a child unattended near water, even for a moment. Keep a constant eye on young children playing in or near any body of water. Adults should be within arm’s reach of children in or near a pool, lake, or body of water. Take the child with you if you must attend to another chore. At social gatherings, designate an adult to watch over the pool.
  2. Barriers - Put barriers between the child and the water. Fence the pool on all four sides with pool fencing that is at least four feet high. Fences should have self closing and self latching gates. Move climbable items such as chairs and tables away from the area in an effort to prevent unattended children from entering the pool area. Use child-resistant locks and/or alarms on all doors and windows, installed out of reach of children.
  3. Life preservers/PFD – Every year in Canada, hundreds of Canadians drown while boating.  Most of them never intended to be in the water, they were just enjoying their boating activity.  Most of them, over 87%, were not wearing a life jacket or PFD when they drowned (Canadian Red Cross).  When it comes to lifejackets or PFD’s close by isn’t enough!  Choose to WEAR your lifejacket or PFD and make every boating outing a return trip.
  4. Be prepared for an emergency – Keep rescue equipment, including reaching and throwing aids, nearby and in good condition. Always search the pool or body of water first when looking for children. All pool owners and caregivers should know CPR for children. CPR and rescue instructions should be placed in a visible location near the pool. Keep a cordless or cell phone poolside.
  5. Teach children water safety skills – Ensure your children are educated about being safe around water.

Food Protection

Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling food and between handling raw and cooked foods. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. With the increasing heat of the summer months, bacterial growth in food can be rapid.

Bike Safety

Falls are the number one cause of injury involving bicycles in Saskatchewan.  With that being said, the majority of bicycle-related injuries are preventable.  Following safe practices as well as increased situational awareness will help prevent injuries from occurring.

  1. Helmet – Always wear a CSA  approved helmet when biking
  2. A properly fitted bicycle – You should be able to stand flatfooted over the bike with at least one inch of clearance above the top tube.
  3. Inspection – Ensure an inspection is completed on your bike before operating. Things to look at are the brakes, wheels, bearings, frame, handlebars, tires, chain, gears and accessories.
  4. Other safety equipment – Bell, horn, reflectors and rear and front lights for night riding.
  5. Look both ways - When entering the street from driveways, parking lots and sidewalks, a cyclist may not stop and watch for traffic. This behaviour is a frequent cause of car-bike collisions involving children. Always yield to oncoming traffic, and look both ways before entering a street.
  6. Traffic - Riding a bicycle and facing traffic is among the most hazardous cycling practices. Riding a bike on the wrong side of a street greatly increases the chance of a collision with a motor vehicle. A bicycle is a vehicle! Motorists need to respect a cyclist’s right to share the road. Always ride on the right side of the road.
  7. The inexperienced rider - Young or inexperienced cyclists may turn or swerve without warning into the paths of cars travelling in the same or opposite direction. When individuals are learning to ride a bike, they should stay off of busy streets.
  8. Sidewalk - Sidewalk riding is a common cause of cyclist injury. When a cyclist rides on the sidewalk, every driveway becomes an intersection. Motorists do not expect to encounter vehicle traffic coming from the sidewalks. Sidewalk cyclists can also be obscured by bushes, hedges or fences. If a child is going to be riding on a sidewalk, ensure constant parental supervision and yield at every street and driveway.

(Cyclist Information provided by

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