This is the final post in a three-part series about summer outdoor celebration safety. The second installment in this series, ‘Perfect Picnicking: Safe Outdoor Eating,’ can be found on the Ross Feller Casey Newswire.
Summer celebrations come in all shapes and sizes. Keeping guests safe at your outdoor venue helps ensure your party is one for the memory books. No matter where you celebrate, these safety tips can increase fun, decrease worry and keep your party guests safe at all times.
Whether in a backyard pool or community swim club, making sure your party guests understand and follow swimming safety rules is a top priority.
The National Drowning Prevention Foundation offers these tips to keep kids and adults safe around water:
- Keep US Coast Guard-approved life jackets on hand for children and inexperienced swimmers. Life jackets provide as much value in a pool as on a boat.
- Set water-safety rules for your pool based on the swimming abilities of guests. Inexperienced swimmers should stay in water that is no more than chest-deep at all times.
- Be aware of the water where you are swimming. Lakes, rivers and oceans have drop-offs and strong, changing currents. Always enter the water feet-first, and watch for fast-moving, choppy or discolored waves that could indicate a rip current.
- Do not allow running or horseplay on pool decks.
- Stay within an arm’s length of inexperienced swimmers at all times.
- Make sure no one is in the pool alone.
- Do not allow anyone to dive into water less than 9 feet deep.
- Have an adult watch the water at all times when kids are in the pool, even if they are experienced swimmers and a lifeguard is present.
- Keep a phone on hand to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
Boating and Watercraft Safety
Inviting friends for a day of boating can be a great way to celebrate summer. Although each state has boating laws, it’s important for boat owners to also enforce their own safety standards on the water. These suggestions can help you increase your guests’ safety while entertaining on or with a watercraft:
- Wear life jackets at all times. The United States Coast Guard estimates that more than 80 percent of boating fatalities could have been prevented by wearing life jackets.
- Have rescue equipment on board. State laws vary when it comes to safety equipment, but most require at least one flotation throw cushion, ropes and a paddle that can be used for both rowing to shore and extending to a person in the water.
- Keep signal flares, fire extinguishers and a safety whistle on hand. If you are boating in the Great Lakes, ocean or international waters you must have a Coast Guard-approved marine radio. It’s also a good idea for at least two members of your party to carry cell phones.
The United States Coast Guard also recommends the following for increased boater and watercraft safety:
- Fill out a float plan and file it with a trusted friend, family member or neighbor. A float plan gives vital information the Coast Guard or other rescue personnel can use in an emergency. Visit the United States Coast Guard website for a downloadable float plan form.
- Take a boater safety course. The Coast Guard estimates that 70 percent of all boating accidents are caused by operator error. A boater’s safety course will help you learn more about your vessel and how to keep passengers safe while on the water.
Celebrating outside without proper sun protection can lead to sunburn and heat exhaustion. To prevent sunburn, seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest. It’s also a good idea to wear lightweight clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect the skin, as well as sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Make sure your guests reapply sunscreen at regular intervals, but especially after swimming or sweating.
Heat exhaustion happens when the body gets overheated and loses electrolytes and fluids. The Mayo Clinic lists the following as symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps
- Heavy sweating
- Weak and rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure when standing
- Muscle cramps
When celebrating outside this summer, pay attention to your guests, especially if they are active, and keep plenty of water on hand throughout the day.
Mayo Clinic suggests these additional ways to prevent heat exhaustion:
- Go to a cooler place. Find a well-shaded spot or go inside to an air-conditioned place to cool the body down.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying well-hydrated helps your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
- Limit strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. Keep everyone safe by saving outdoor games for later in the day when temperatures go down.
Following these suggestions for summer party safety can help you and your guests enjoy great times at your outdoor celebration.
Patti Richards is wife, mother of three children, and caretaker of two dogs, two rabbits and a cat. A contributor to the Ross Feller Casey, LLP blog, Patti regularly enjoys writing articles on health, wellness and nutrition.