Keep your family safe this summer

June 12, 2023 Providence Health Team


In this article: 

  • When you’re swimming this summer, never allow anyone in your family to swim alone — including adults. 

  • Always clean your grill after each use to remove grease that could start a fire. 

  • If you plan to set off fireworks for your family, discuss safety procedures with your children in case their clothes catch on fire. 

Oh, the sweet allure of summer! It’s a time for exciting vacations, refreshing dips in the pool, family barbecues and adventures in nature. You probably have lots of fun plans for outdoor activities during the summer months — but don’t add a trip to the emergency room to those plans. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most common dangers during the summer, and how you can keep your family safe. 

Swimming safety 

There’s nothing like a cool pool on a sweltering summer day, or a trip to the beach with the family. The American Red Cross offers these water safety tips for families who want to venture into the water: 

  • Do not allow anyone to swim alone. This includes adults, who could run into problems if they experience a medical emergency or swim in unfamiliar waters. 
  • Supervise children closely. Even when a child is a strong swimmer, they may experience distress that a lifeguard or caregiver might not notice. Resist the urge to scroll on your cell phone and keep a watchful eye on all who are in the water. 
  • If you have a home pool, put barriers around it to prevent children from accessing it during non-swimming hours. Many young children who drown in home pools do so because they wandered into the pool area alone. Be vigilant about blocking access to the pool immediately after you are finished swimming. 
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Don’t waste time looking around the house with a home pool, or scanning the sand or deck at a beach or public pool. Seconds count when it comes to drowning, and a child in the water is in much more danger than a child wandering around on solid ground. 
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim. Taking swim lessons could save their life. If they don’t know how to swim, they should be wearing a life jacket when boating or spending other time around a body of water. 

Grilling safety 

As you pull out the grill for a delicious outdoor meal, remember these safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association

  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill. Not only is the grill itself a safety hazard, but while you are cooking, hot debris and ashes could fly off the grill and injure a child or animal. 
  • Never leave your grill unattended. As stated above, fire debris could fly off your grill and potentially cause a fire. Additionally, any number of factors could cause the grill to fall over. 
  • Thoroughly clean your grill after each use. This will remove grease that could start a fire. 
  • With a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container. 

Safety around fireworks 

One of the staples of summer is fireworks — especially around the Fourth of July. But anyone who works in an emergency room will tell you that July 4 is one of their busiest days. Here are some safety tips for using fireworks: 

  • Only adults should handle fireworks. Tell children to immediately leave the area if their friends are using fireworks. 
  • Discuss safety procedures with your children. Teach them to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothes catch fire. Make sure they know how to call 911. Have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby, and show children how to use them to put out fireworks. 
  • Read labels and carefully follow directions. All legal fireworks carry a warning label describing necessary safety precautions. 
  • Never use fireworks indoors. 
  • Be sure spectators are out of range before lighting fireworks. 
  • Never aim or throw fireworks at another person. 
  • Never place your face or any other body part over fireworks. You could be at risk for a head injury. 
  • Never try to reignite fireworks that malfunction. 
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket. 
  • Light fireworks only on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials. 

Sun safety 

Decades ago, people basked in the sun because they thought it would make their skin glow and look healthy. Now, we know the opposite is true — too much sun exposure can cause, at best, a painful sunburn, and at worst, skin cancer. If you aren’t hydrating enough, it can also lead to heat stroke. To protect your skin from the sun, you should: 

  • Stay in the shade.  
  • Wear long-sleeved clothes and hats. Clothes that are made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts will protect your skin. 
  • Wear sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that block both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. 
  • Don’t leave home without sunblock. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. If you stay out in the sun for more than two hours or are swimming, reapply the sunblock frequently. 

When you follow these summer safety tips, you’re setting yourself up for a summer to remember—and not a summer in the emergency department.  


Find a doctor 

If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory. Through Providence Express Care Virtual, you can also access a full range of health care services. 


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Related resources 

How to treat summertime illnesses and injuries 

The top 5 illness and injuries we see every summer 

How to protect your skin 

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions. 

About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

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