Family Summer Safety: Four Lesser-Known Dangers to Avoid

Active family going on a bikeride.

Many families have been schooled on the “big” summer safety issues that threaten the well-being of children including water safety around the pool, fireworks precautions and the importance of using sunscreen and sunglasses on your little ones.

But what about the lesser-known dangers that range from annoying to downright dangerous, not just for children but for all of us?

  • Bug bites: Buffalo gnats and mosquitos compete for most annoying bugs, but wasp and bee stings can produce whole-body reactions that range from face and lip swelling to throat closure in people who are allergic. If your child is allergic to bug bites, carry an EpiPen with you and be prepared to use it.
  • Dehydration: It’s important on a normal day to drink between 60 and 80 ounces of water. When you work out or sweat profusely, you lose water and salt. Dr. Florence recommends that for every 20 minutes you work out, plan to replace that water and salt with six ounces of water and GatorAid or PowerAid.
  • Grilling: The closer to your house, the more convenient, but close proximity of a grill to the house also leads to a much higher risk of fire. Keep a fully functioning fire extinguisher nearby so you don’t have to run inside to find it in case of a grill emergency. Dr. Florence said, “Also, make sure the grill is not in a high-traffic area. You don’t want to host a family barbecue with kids running around the grill and possibly bumping into hot surfaces.”
  • Helmets: Just because you never wore a bicycle helmet and turned out just fine doesn’t mean your kids will be that fortunate. Start your kids off wearing helmets at a young age. Make it non-negotiable and wear yours, too. “You only get one brain. We can transplant a lot of things, but we can’t transplant a brain,” Florence said.
Nicole Florence, MD, is an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where she completed residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics. Dr. Florence is board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics and obesity medicine.