Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Here in New York, we seemed to go from snow on the ground to 80 degree days overnight. It’s hot. And I don’t like being hot. But I do like being safe. These summer safety tips can help you keep your family (and your pets) safe this summer.

Summer Safety Tips for Kids

Lots of kids are home alone during the day in the summer while parents are at work. My poor kids have not enjoyed that luxury for a long time (10 or more years) so they never get away with anything, but if you are home alone, follow these summer safety tips to protect yourself and your family:
1. Check in. Always check with your parents or the person in charge before you go anywhere or do anything. Be sure to check in regularly with your parents or a trusted adult when you’re not with them.
2. Don’t go alone. If you are going to a park or out for a walk, don’t go alone. Take a friend.
3. Whether you’re 5 or 15, remember stranger danger. Don’t talk to strangers, let them in your home, or go online to chat with them..
4. Lock the door.  Keep the doors locked when mom and dad are at work, and don’t answer the door for anyone unless you know a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor is coming over.
5. Practice Internet Safety. If you’re allowed to be online when your parents are gone, be safe. Don’t use apps or go on websites that are not allowed. Don’t talk to people you don’t know. And don’t give out personal information about yourself, your family, or where you live or go to school.

Summer Safety Tips for Everyone

When the temperature soars and humidity rises,take precautions to avoid dangerous health consequences such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and overexposure to the sun. Everyone is at risk.

Protect yourself from the sun.

Limit mid-day exposure from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., wear sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of the UV radiation, wear a hat, and wear protective clothing. Be sure to apply sunscreen lotion of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30 to exposed areas. Listen for the UV Index forecast in your local weather forecast.

Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

Elevated body temperature
Dry mouth
Weak and rapid pulse
Cool, clammy, pale skin
To treat heat exhaustion, get inside. Hydrate. Rest and cool down.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
Very high body temperature (103 degrees or higher)
Hot, dry, red skin
No sweating
Disorientation, hallucinations, delirium
Rapid breathing and fast pulse, then slow breathing and weak pulse
Loss of consciousness
Heat stroke can occur within 10 – 15 minutes of the first symptoms. If treatment is not given immediately, permanent damage can occur to internal organs. Call 9-11 or seek medical attention immediately and do everything you can to lower the person’s body temperature while you wait for help to arrive.

Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. Consider filling a child’s wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in. Never leave your pet where they only have concrete to walk on; the concrete will get hot enough to blister their paws.

  • Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.
  • Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense.
  • Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog’s paws.
  • Dogs that are (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your dog inside with air-conditioning.

Common sense is really all it takes to have a safe and fun summer, but these summer safety tips can help.


*I’m not a medical doctor, these are just suggestions. Please seek your own medical advice if you are worried about your health and summer safety.