Summer has arrived with opportunities for fun -- and danger

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Here are some tips on how to avoid the emergency room

What is your favorite summertime activity? Riding your ATV, time at the pool, firing up the grill?

All three of those can be fun but -- if you're not careful -- hazardous.

Fortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has some advice on how to keep everyone safe -- especially children.

ATV Riding

Off  Highway Vehicles (OHVs), especially All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) can be a lot of fun, but they can also be dangerous if not used properly. CPSC figures covering the period from 2017 through 2019 show there were 2,178 deaths associated with OHVs; nearly 70% were ATVs and 283 OHV deaths were children under 16 years old.

The agency estimates that in 2021, there were 106,600 emergency room treated injuries associated with OHVs with 29% to children under 16 years old. The dangers are real and include overturning, collisions, and occupant ejection.

The following ATV safety tips can ensure a safe and enjoyable ride:

  • Training: Get hands-on training from a qualified instructor.
  • Seats: Never ride with more passengers than there are seats. Most ATVs are designed for one rider.
  • Stay off paved roads: Never ride on public roads, except to cross, where permitted by law.
  • No Drinking: Avoid drinking alcohol before or while driving an ATV.
  • Age Limits: Riders younger than 16 should drive only age-appropriate youth models -never adult models.
  • Safety Gear: Always wear a helmet and other protective gear, such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

Pool Safely

A dip in the pool may be a good way to escape the heat, but it is important to remember to stay vigilant when it comes to water safety. ConsumerAffairs recently covered pool safety in depth here, but it doesn't hurt to review the safety tips:

  • Supervision: Never leave children unattended in or near a pool, and always designate an adult to watch over the pool area.
  • Barriers: Install barriers around the pool, to prevent unsupervised access by children.
  • Swimming Skills: Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.
  • Drains: Keep children away from pool drains and ensure that they are properly covered to prevent entrapment.
  • CPR: Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults.

Outdoor Cooking and Grilling

What is summer without occasional outdoor cooking and grilling? While fun and enjoyable, these activities can also be dangerous if not done with safety in mind.

According to CPSC, 13 deaths occur on average every year, and in 2022, there were 5,400 ER-treated injuries associated with grills -- burns being the most common.

To reduce these risks and have a safe grilling experience, follow some general safety tips:

  • Recalls: Check www.cpsc.gov to see if the grill has been recalled – follow the remedy if recalled. Earlier this year, there was one grill recall.
  • Inspect: Look over the grill and any gas hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Replace, if necessary.
  • Location: Use grills outside only, in well-ventilated areas and never indoors, in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under a surface that will burn.
  • Starters: Only use appropriate fire starters and only before lighting the fire. Never add liquid fuel after trying to start a fire.
  • Observe: Never leave a hot grill unattended and keep children away from the grill area.
  • Clean up: Clean your grill with a ball of aluminum foil or nylon brushes, instead of wire grill brushes, to prevent stray wire brush strands from ending up in the food.
  • Extinguishers: Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and make sure that everyone knows how to use it.

Summer is a lot more fun if you spend the time in the backyard rather than the emergency room.

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