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Safety tips for summertime fun

PLATTSBURGH Summer is a great time for having fun the kids are on vacation and theres always so much to do. Theres biking, skateboarding, summer sports, swimming and more. But as we partake in all these fun in the sun activities we need to keep safety in mind because each summer accidents do happen many of which can be avoided. While each sport or type of recreational activity comes with a safety list of its own, keeping safe from the sun and heat applies to them all. Before heading out always remember to apply sun block. To keep kids (and yourself) safe while playing outdoors, apply a waterproof sun block with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating of 15 or greater to exposed skin and repeat at least every two hours. You should also consider that if a child is sweating a lot or swimming, it may be necessary to reapply the sun block more frequently. Also, please note that the SPF numbers refer to the product's ability to block out the sun's burning rays (UVB). If your child has skin that burns easily, you may need to use a sun block with a higher SPF or to reapply more often. If you notice a sunburn developing, it is time to get out of the sun! Before heading out remember to bring plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Kids tend to be at greater risk for dehydration and heat illness than adults when they are active during the heat of the summer. But by making sure your kids are drinking enough of the right kinds of fluids before, during and after activity, you can easily prevent dehydration. Think of this: sweat contains more than water. So in order to stay safe, kids need to replace the fluid and electrolytes they lose in sweat by drinking things like sports drinks. To make sure kids drink enough, pack a squeeze bottle and encourage kids to drink on a schedule-not just when they're thirsty. After activity, encourage kids to drink 8-12 ounces of fluid for each pound of fluid they lost through sweat. To maintain proper hydration remember that people should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. Smarts about skateboarding Skateboarding has certainly gained in popularity as an activity enjoyed by many young people. Unfortunately, it's also an activity that causes many unintentional injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 15,600 people have had to seek treatment at their local hospital emergency room each year for injuries related to skateboarding. Fractures are among the most frequent type of injury. And it should be noted that there have been reports of deaths as a result of collisions with motor vehicles and from falls. Why such a high incident rate? Irregular riding surfaces account for over 50 percent of the skateboarding injuries caused by falls. Sprained or fractured wrists are among the most common of skateboarding injuries. Green skateboarders - or those who have been skating for only a week or less - have suffered one-third of the injuries. Where experienced riders are concerned, injuries suffered are usually are usually the result of falls caused by hitting rocks and other irregularities in the riding surface. The National Safety Council has offered the following skateboarding tips: Using the proper skateboard and protective gear When shopping for a skateboard be aware that there are boards with varying characteristics for different types of riding; to include slalom, freestyle or speed. It is also important to note that some boards are rated as to the weight of the intended user. Uncool or not skateboarders should have protective equipment, such as closed, slip-resistant shoes, helmets, and specially designed padding. While such gear may not fully protect skateboarders from fractures, they can reduce the number and severity of injuries most notably cuts and scrapes. Padded jackets and shorts as well as padding for hips, knees and elbows are available and strongly suggested. If the protective padding is too tight, it could restrict circulation and reduce the ability to move freely. Loose-fitting padding, on the other hand, could slip off or slide out of position. Wearing wrist braces and special skateboarding gloves also can help absorb the impact of fall When in the market for a helmet, look for proper fit and be sure there is a chin strap. Prior to your purchase try the helmet on to be sure it does not block vision or hearing. Reaction - Falling safely Learning how to fall can definitely help reduce the chances of suffering a serious injury. If you feel you are losing your balance, crouch down on the skateboard so that you will not have as far to fall. Falls are pretty much unstoppable, so the idea is to try to land on the fleshy parts of your body. When you start to fall, try to roll rather than trying to absorb the force with your arms. Dont try to stop yourself by extending your arms out straight. Instead try to relax your body. Checklist for skateboards: Always perform a quick safety check before you ride. Always wear safety gear. Never ride in the street. Know and obey the town, village or city laws. Observe traffic and areas where you can and cannot skate. Don't skate in crowds of non-skaters. Be smart there should only be one person per skateboard. Never ever try to hitch a ride from a car, bicycle, or other moving vehicle. Don't be a show off and take crazy chances; complicated tricks require careful practice and a specially-designated area. Learn how to fall it may be wise to practice falling on softer surfaces such as grass before heading onto the concrete or tarmack. Summer splashing - with safety in mind Before you pack up for a day at the beach or out on the boat there are a few things to keep in mind. Most swimming or boating accidents happen quickly - and because people just don't stop to think about safety. Most of these tragic accidents could have been prevented by simply taking a few moments to observe water safety guidelines. If you want to keep your family safe this summer, follow these water safety tips: Never swim alone. Stay close to the boat, pool edge, or shore in case you need to get to safety by yourself. Know your swimming ability limits as well as those of your family, and stay within them. Learn the proper way to dive, and always check the water depth before doing so. Maintain constant supervision. Always watch children around any water environment, no matter what swimming skills the youngster has and no matter how shallow the water is. Dont forget the life jackets. Remember that drinking and water sports are not a good mix. At the playground and on the ballfield Playground Safety tips: Never tamper with the ropes on playground equipment. Adults should supervise children on the playground at all times. Children should avoid wearing clothing with drawstrings which can get caught in the equipment and lead to entanglement or strangulation. Children should take off helmets before playing on equipment to avoid getting it stuck, which again could result in strangulation. Sports safety: Introduce new activities carefully and with patience - children and adults alike need time to practice and master new skills. For vigorous sports activities, concentrate on learning the skills first then gradually increase the intensity. Wear protective equipment when appropriate. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear that suits the activity - and the weather! Most popular summer sports require shin pads, kneepads, helmets, face masks, safety goggles and rubber cleats. To avoid common ankle and knee injuries, remember to send your kids to practice with cleats that are best for their sport and are in good condition. Bicycling, the safe way Nearly 250 children die in bicycle-related accidents, and about half a million kids are injured in bicycling accidents. Each year in the United States. And even though it is estimated that about two-thirds of the serious injuries could have been avoided by wearing a helmet, only about 20 percent of children in this country do. It should also be noted that many accidents can be avoided by simply helping children to understand and obey bike safety rules. Riding With Young Children Child safety carriers (and other options)are not meant to replace the need for helmets. Be a positive role model and protect your own head by wearing a helmet, too. A trailer, hitched to your bicycle, is said to be one of the safest ways to take a young child for a bike ride. Trailers are low, mesh-covered seats supported by two wheels, allowing for greater stability, while the sturdy frame provides accident protection, and because your child is riding a couple feet behind your bike's rear wheel, the spokes are out of reach. Trailers also ride near to the ground, so in the event that your bike falls over, your child won't tumble very far. Please remember - the trailer is actually wider than your bike, so one of the trailer's wheels could slip off the road's edge or could overturn after hitting a bump, if one wheel rides a curb, or if your bicycle turns sharply. Use a trailer with a shoulder harness and lap belt to secure your child. The hitch to your bike should have a flexible joint that allows the trailer to stay upright if your bike falls. Attach a tall bright warning flag to the trailer for increased visibility and make sure the trailer has reflectors. Child Seats A frame-mounted seat is best for your toddler because they fasten above your bike's rear wheel, giving your child a higher vantage point. However - the extra weight of carrying a child in a seat increases brake time and compromises balance and handling. Youll want a seat with a back high enough to support your child's neck and guards that prevent your child's feet from touching your rear wheel. Seats should have a lap belt with a childproof buckle and a shoulder harness. Bikes that are safe The first thing to look for when buying a bike for your child is the right fit. Don't make the mistake of buying a bike that's too big, thinking your child will grow into it; an oversized bicycle could cause your child to lose control and get hurt. You know the bike is the right size when your child can sit on the seat with his or her feet flat on the ground, with the handlebar no higher than their shoulders. Bikes for younger kids should have foot brakes, rather than hand brakes. If your child is starting out on training wheels, be sure they can be adjusted as his or her riding skills improve. Parents sometimes mistakenly think that there shouldn't be any "wobble" with training wheels - but, in fact, that's how they help a child "train" on the bicycle. Helmet Safety Bicycle helmets aren't a choice -they are a matter of life and death. Today's helmets for children tend to be less cumbersome - they are now very lightweight and comfortable. Pick those in bright colors that are clearly visible to everyone driving and riding on the road. Youll want to choose a helmet that's well ventilated and fits your child well. When buying a helmet, look inside for a "CPSC" sticker, which shows that the helmet meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. A helmet should sit level and firmly but comfortably on your child's head. It shouldn't be tilted forward or backward. It should have strong, wide straps that fasten snugly under the chin. No more than a finger's width should be able to fit beneath the strap when it's fastened correctly. After taking a serious hit, helmets lose their capacity to absorb shock, so if your child ever has a significant fall and hits any surface hard with the helmet, immediately replace it.

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