Seven Tips for a Safe and Healthy Summer

Vol. 6 No. 9

riskmanager eletter Vol6 No9 summer

Summer break is finally here. Although the next eight to 10 weeks are scheduled with projects you couldn’t focus on while your campus buzzed with students and activities, hopefully, you’ve also penciled some summer fun for yourself. Here are seven reminders and tips for staying safe this summer.

Swimming safety

Never swim alone—no matter how comfortable you are in the water. Rather at the pool, lake, or beach, a lifeguard or water-loving friend should be present. Water accidents, riptides, and sudden health issues can happen at any time. Having another person present can save your life.

Don’t leave children unattended near water. On average, there are 3,536 fatal drownings each year—and children ages 1–4 have the highest statistics. Always put floaties or a life vest on children when around water. The CDC reports that swimming lessons can save adult and youth lives.

Bug off, bugs

Most bugs are not a threat to people. However, if you’re planning on spending time outdoors, use a bug repellent. Ticks, mosquitos, biting flies, and spiders do raise certain health risks such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease. The CDC recommends using a bug spray containing 10%–30% DEET.

Side effects of DEET are debatable. Some sources say there is nothing to be concerned about, while others say DEET can affect the nervous system. Because of the general concern, holistic, homemade recipes have grown in popularity.

Here is a recipe found on that’s easy enough to whip up in your kitchen.

  • 2 tablespoons of either vodka or witch hazel
  • 2 tablespoons of your choice of grape seed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or neem oil
  • ½ teaspoon of vodka (if not already using)
  • 100–110 drops of essential oil

Around your house and garden, plant lemon grass, lemon thyme, and mosquito plants that repel mosquitos and biting flies. Also, eliminate any stagnant water. Clean birdbaths, water bowls, and ponds daily. Other water collecting areas around your home including gutters and run off piping should be cleaned every five days to prevent mosquito breeding.

Street athlete protection

Summer is the perfect season to ramp up your fitness routine. Take advantage of longer days and milder weather by going for a jog, run, or bike ride around your neighborhood—but do it safely.

  • Wear a safety helmet while bike riding.
  • Wear light colored clothes so drivers and others on the road or trail can easily see you.
  • Use hand road signals when sharing the road with other commuters.
  • Carry a cell phone with you in case of emergency.
  • Carry a small first aid kit for insect bites, scrapes, and other small injuries.

Mowing your lawn

More than 80,000 people visit emergency rooms with lawn mowing-related injuries each year. What is thought to be a simple summer chore can quickly become dangerous—even deadly. These tips can help keep you and your family safe this summer while enjoying your own yard.

  • Wear long pants, sunglasses, and closed shoes (not flip-flops!) while mowing to protect yourself from hot exhaust and flying debris such as rocks, toys, and twigs.
  • Pick up sticks and other visible debris before mowing.
  • Keep animals and children away from the area being mowed. More accidents happen when people accidentally backing the mower over children or pets they weren’t aware of.
  • Service your mower to ensure guards and safety switches work properly.
  • Don’t allow children under 16 years of age to operate a standing or riding mower.


Each year, 3.3 million people in the U.S. will be treated for nonmelanoma skin cancer. There are more new cases of skin cancers each year than of breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancers combined. When in the sun, protect your skin.

The CDC suggests applying an SPF 15 or higher when spending time outdoors. It’s important to read labels and reapply as needed—generously and frequently.

Pet health

Summer heat can be a killer. Just as the young and elderly are at risk, so are pets. In most states, if you see a pet in a hot car without ventilation, you can legally break the car windows to rescue.

If your pets are kept mainly outdoors, make sure they have plenty of water and a shady place to escape to. Pets can get sunburned, too. They need protection from the sun, but don’t use the same sunscreen on them as you use on yourself! Human sunscreens can be toxic to animals. Pet sunscreens are available online and at most pet stores.

You can report animal abuse and cruelty at or

Car checkup

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip. With gas prices averaging $2.20 a gallon, there really is nothing holding you back from checking some sites off your bucket list like the world’s largest frying pan or ball of string. Before you set your GPS, however, have your car tuned up and OK’d for your journey.

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Risk Managers Vol. 1 No. 8 Summer Safety Tips for Parents and Summer Program Leaders
The Source for Risk Managers Vol. 4 No. 8 Questions Parents Should Ask About Your Summer Camp—And You Should Ask Your Summer Program Director
The Source for Risk Managers
Vol. 6 No. 8 Playground Safety Tips

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