Though Floridians get to enjoy summer fun for most of the year, there’s nothing like spending the months of June to September at the beaches, by a pool or at an amusement park. Unfortunately, many of these fun activities can lead to personal injuries if you or your loved ones leave safety on the back burner.
The good news is that with a little education, preparation and common sense, you and yours can avoid injuries while enjoying the last month of summer.
How to Avoid Injuries in the Summer Season
- Swim, Slip, Fall: From water parks to a backyard pool, cooling off with a swim can be good fun for everyone when the hot summer sun’s dial is turned up from “bake” to “broil.” However, especially with children, there are major slip and fall risks on pool decks and any slick surfaces traversed while still damp and barefoot. Even flip-flop sandals can be risky, as many do not have slip-resistant soles and can be just as risky as going barefoot.
To avoid injuries around the pool or water park, shop for specifically slip-resistant sandals or water socks, dry yourself as much as possible once out of the water, and never run on wet surfaces. Puddles can be hard to spot, so always be cautious and instruct your children to do the same.
- Boating Blunders: Florida is full of boating opportunities for all walks of life-from those who love kicking back and doing some freshwater fishing to those who prefer high-octane thrills of taking a motorboat on the open ocean. The issue is, many new boaters do not fully understand the dangers of navigating unfamiliar waters, especially if operating at speeds in excess of the posted speed or wake limits. Operation while under the influence is also a major concern, as some boaters (mistakenly) feel safer drinking and boating than driving their car and boating.
Avoid injuries and boating accidents while on the water by never drinking and boating, operating your boat especially carefully in unfamiliar waters and following all posted speed and wake limits. For good measure, always ensure that you and your passengers are always wearing US-Coast-Guard-approved personal floatation devices at all times and that other safety equipment, like fire extinguishers and emergency locator devices, are stowed and operational.
- Amusement Park Accidents: Amusement parks can be a great way to spend some fun summer family bonding time but it also comes with a few accident risks. According to CNN, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported a whopping 300,000 amusement park injuries in 2016. However, that number may be larger, considering that many accidents go unreported in carnivals or traveling fairs.
Though the risk of injury at most major theme parks, especially the safety-conscious and family-friendly parks that put Orlando on the map, is extremely rare, you can do your due diligence by checking the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) safety report and ensure that you follow all safety warnings within the park.
- Weather Woes: Though we may live in the “Sunshine State,” we know the reality of what Florida has in store at any given moment-surprise summer thunderstorms. Even tourists quickly realize that a bright sun and blue skies can quickly turn sour, and fast. If safely indoors, most weather woes will pass over with limited risk, but when on the road or caught outside, it can be a different story.
If caught in a storm while on the road, turn on your headlight (but not your high beams), give other motorists more room than usual and, if conditions become too dangerous, pull over to a safe location to wait the storm out. If outside, seek immediate shelter in a business until the rough weather passes. Lightning is a real danger, especially when under a tree or wading in puddles of water, which may conduct a lightning strike. Also, look for downed power lines or debris immediately after a powerful storm in order to avoid injuries in the aftermath.
- Drinking and Driving: Summer is often a time of big barbecue bashes and long nights of time spent sipping cold cocktails and catching up with good company. However, a summer party can turn tragic if you or your guests decide to get behind the wheel after a few drinks.
If you know that you will be consuming alcohol, make a conscious plan before you get to the party. Designate a sober driver, make plans with the party’s host to spend the night or simply order an Uber or Lyft to get you safely back home without putting yourself and every other motorist and pedestrian at risk.
As we stated before, Florida’s summer tends to seep into most of the months of the year, but there is nothing quite like spending June, July and August soaking up the season’s sun by a pool, on a boat, at an amusement park or simply while enjoying some drinks with good friends and family. However, you should always keep safety as your number-one priority. After all, with safety squared away, you can have more fun knowing you are doing everything to avoid injuries and protect yourself and your family.