5 Hidden Summer Dangers Every Parent Needs to Know

July 10, 2019 21 By EngineerMommy

This post was sponsored Auto Alliance as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

During the summer, the kids & I spend a lot of time exploring nature outdoors, visiting the local pool and having family picnics. As a mom, the safety of my kids is always my top priority. So now that we are a few weeks into summer break, it’s the perfect time to recognize the multitude of hazards that are more prevalent during the warmer months.  From the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses to the danger of accidentally leaving a child in a hot car, I’m talking about it all today.

1. Food Poisoning!

We love having family gatherings in the yard. The hubby will fire up the grill and we’ll enjoy good food & good company. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the risk of food poisoning. Why is food poisoning more common during the summer? Well, the warmer temperatures, combined with the increase in outdoor eating (picnics, BBQ’s), lends itself quite easily to the growth of harmful bacteria. Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea. A general guideline to keep in mind is that cold foods should be kept cold and hot foods should be kept hot. Common summer staples that are especially prone to contamination include burgers, chicken, macaroni salad, and creamy salad dressings.

2. Hot Cars!

Accidentally leaving a child in a hot car is actually a frighteningly common occurrence during the summer months. We’ve all seen the horror stories on the news. I’m partnering with the Auto Alliance today to spread awareness about this important issue.

Did you know that even when the outside temperature is only 70 degrees, the interior of a parked car can heat up to 120 degrees ­within just 15 minutes? And, that’s with the windows open!! What a sobering – and terrifying – fact!

This temperature can indeed be fatal, especially for children. In fact, a child’s body can heat up 3-5 times faster than that of an adult. Every year in the U.S., too many kids die when left in a hot car alone. Keep in mind that many of these cases involve kids being left in a car by mistake (the parent simply forgot to take the child with him/her.) Most of these kids are very young: 75% are under two years old & 50% are under one year old.

The good news is that heatstroke deaths are preventable, as long as parents and caregivers are vigilant. Remember that it’s never okay to leave your child alone in the car, even for a single minute. Also, make sure your child stays well-hydrated with plenty of water during the summer. We keep extra water bottles in the trunk of the car to make sure we’re prepared on long hikes or other outdoor adventures.

To spread awareness about the dangers of accidentally leaving a child in a hot car, the Auto Alliance has partnered with the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to launch the “Look Before You Lock: Never Leave A Child Alone in a Car” campaign with the following tips for parents: 

  • A-Avoid: Never leave your child alone in the car… not even for a minute. Also, keep your car doors locked when you’re not inside so the kids don’t get in on their own. 
  • C-Create Reminders: Create reminders for yourself by leaving your handbag, books, or phone in the backseat next to your child. This way, when you get to your destination, you’ll remember to check the backseat – this is crucial if your routine is out of the ordinary. 
  • T-Take Action: If you are in a parking lot and see a child left alone inside a car, call 911. Your call could save that child’s life. Emergency personnel definitely want you to make that call. They can respond to these situations appropriately. 

By following these tips & practicing some common sense, you can keep your family safe throughout the summer. 

To learn more about the importance of this issue, be sure to watch this video below.

Visit Auto Alliance on Facebook & Twitter to learn more about their efforts.

3. Poisonous Plants!

During the summer, we all spend more time playing in our yard and exploring local parks. Being able to identify common poisonous plants is key. Poison ivy grows into three “leaflets” either as a vine or a shrub. The oily sap in poison ivy can cause a local allergic reaction that involves red, itchy skin. Poison oak has leaves that are similar to those of an oak tree. With this plant, it can take hours or even days before the allergic reaction sets in, which involves bumpy blisters. Poison sumac is another common poisonous plant- this one grows in wet, swampy areas throughout the country with clusters of green berries that droop. If you have been exposed to a poisonous plant, consider using cool showers and calamine lotion to help relieve the itch. Also, see a physician if the rash covers over 25% of your body or if the itching is severe.

4. Mosquitoes!

With all the time spent outdoors near beaches, pools and other bodies of water, it’s no wonder that we are all more likely to experience mosquito bites during the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States is West Nile virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains and vomiting. Another common mosquito-borne illness is dengue, which has emerged as a worldwide problem in recent history. The mosquitoes that transmit this disease are active day and night and can be found both indoors or outdoors. Another common mosquito-borne illness is the Zika virus, which continues to plague South America. To reduce the risk of getting bitten by a mosquito, use insect repellent sprays and wear long sleeves/pants/socks when possible. To reduce the mosquito activity within your home, empty any standing water from flowerpots, gutters and other objects where water can build up.

5. Swimming!

Who doesn’t love the beach on a hot summer day? However, water-related accidents are surprisingly common, even among swimmers. To keep your family safe around the water, it’s important to practice some basic safety tips. Always ensure that there is an adult nearby when kids are swimming, even if it’s in their own backyard pool. Always use safety gates to keep little children away from unsupervised pools. Also, never allow children to run or play wildly around the water. Make sure kids swim at a depth that’s safe and appropriate for their skill level. While playing in the water will always be one of the biggest joys of summer, it’s important to be vigilant and stay safe.

I hope these tips have inspired you to have a safer, healthier summer.  Learn more about how the Auto Alliance is helping to spread awareness about the dangers of hot cars during the summer. Did I miss any other important tips? 

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