Safety first will help make it a summer to savor

Summer is the season so many of us in the Midwest look forward to, with sun-drenched warm days lasting well into the evening, and an array of outdoor activities to keep us going from morning to sundown — and beyond.

To ensure everyone’s enjoyment this time of year, follow these basic safety guidelines from the American Red Cross, available at

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 11 people die every day from drowning, many of them children. Here are ways to guard against such tragedy:

• Prevent unsupervised access to water by providing constant, active adult supervision. Swim in a lifeguarded area when possible.

• Learn CPR to know what to do in an emergency.

• Exit the water at the first sign of lightning or rumble of thunder.

• At the beach, swim only in designated areas. Children, inexperienced swimmers and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

• If caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Then, turn and swim to shore. If you can’t swim to shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current, and then head toward shore. Draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.

• If someone is in distress in the water, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble. Don’t go in, or you could become a victim yourself.

When planning a camping or hiking excursion, make sure to keep these tips in mind:

• Pack a first-aid kit to handle insect stings, sprains, cuts and bruises and other injuries.

• Share your travel plans and locations with a family member, neighbor or friend.

• Bring nutritious food items and water, lightweight clothing to layer and supplies for any pets.

• To prevent mosquito and tick bites, use insect repellents containing DEET, and consider staying indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots. Use a rubber band or tape to hold pants against socks so that nothing can get under clothing. Tuck your shirt into your pants.

• Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see tiny insects or ticks. When hiking in woods and fields, stay in the middle of trails. Avoid underbrush and tall grass. If outdoors for a long time, check yourself several times during the day for insects or ticks.

• For pets that go outdoors, spray them with repellent made for their breed/type. Check them for ticks often.

• Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying sources of standing water outside of the home, such as from flowerpots, buckets and barrels.