May 22, 2007
Joanmarie Pellegrini, MD
It is finally summer! And not to be a killjoy, but it is time to think about summer safety. by no means is the following a comprehensive list but it is meant to get our readers and follows to start thinking about summer safety.
Water safety: Do you have a pool? This is the time to check the gate around the pool and the locks. Even if you yourself do not have children, there may be inquisitive children that live around you. Ask yourself as you inspect the gate if a 3 foot tall or shorter person could open it. Children should never swim alone. Us adults would do wise to follow the same rule. Will you be boating this summer? This is the time to check out your flotation devices. Does everyone in the family have a personal flotation device (PFD) that fits and is functional? Are there extras on the boat in case friends come along? If you will be on the ocean, does the radio work?
Camp fires and other fires: Make sure you are burning your fire in an approved spot. Particularily during this time of year, people are burning brush. As tempting as it may be, please do not try to jumpstart your fire with gasoline or other flammable liquid. It is very difficult to get a fire going with gasoline without burning yourself.
Bicycles: Do you have a helmet? Does it fit comfortably so that you will wear it? Does your bike have reflectors if you will be riding at dusk? If you will be riding on the road at dawn or dusk, remember that drivers driving into the sun will have reduced vision and may not be able to see you.
Ladders: This is also the time of year that we all want to get our "fix-it-up" jobs around the house done. If this involves a ladder, please use common sense. You should not be on a ladder if you have balance issues or an irregular heartbeat. Ladder safety is all about positioning the ladder on solid ground and not trying to reach off to the side when you are on it.
Road safety: Most of us think the roads are more dangerous during the winter. However, this is not necessarily true. With summer come the tourists. Also, lots of Mainers are on the road sight seeing. That means that our roads are much more crowded than during the winter. Naturally, that means that we must all be more aware of our surroundings. Please drive defensively.
ATVs: All terrain vehicles are loads of fun. But similar to snowmobiles, they can cause all kinds of havoc on the body. I shouldn't have to say or write this but: Wear a helmet! One cannot define speeding by a specific number. However, be aware of the terrain. At the trauma centers we see many injuries every summer because the patient was thrown from their ATV or hit a tree. Almost always the injuries are severe because of excessive speed. Children should be on an under-powered ATV.