Traditionally, Labor Day is the fond farewell to summer and a welcomed hello to autumn. Lots of people will be on the roads, having backyard or park reunions, grilling, swimming and basically enjoying family and friends get-togethers.
To make this Labor Day a safe one, here are some tips that can help keep you from having to make a trip to the ER on this special weekend:
- Before you start out on a trip, make sure that your vehicle is in good condition, and see that any necessary maintenance is performed.
- Just as adults and kids should always wear a seat belt, infants should always be properly secured in car seats.
- Be sure to follow all traffic laws while on the road, and use extra caution while driving in construction zones.
- Be vigilant about paying attention to the road, and avoid distractions such as cell phones. Even just a momentary look away from the road can drastically increase your chances of a crash.
- Be mindful of other vehicles on the road and remember to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and others. Keep in mind that semi-trucks, for example, require more time to come to a stop than cars do, and have large blind spots.
- Keep an eye out for motorcyclists. Motorcycles are more difficult to see because they are smaller and can swiftly move in and out of traffic.
- Even though you may have GPS, keep a map in the car and road flares in the trunk.
Food Safety. Picnics, barbeques, and neighborhood potlucks are plentiful and that means so is the chance of food-borne illness. To minimize the chance of cross-contamination:
- Wash your hands before and after you touch raw meat.
- Dry your hands on paper towels instead of cloth towels, and discard immediately. Refrigerate meat that’s waiting to hit the grill.
- Never leave food that requires refrigeration (think potato salad, coleslaw or chicken salad) out in the sun. Instead, set the item the bowl is in on top of a pan filled with ice, and serve from a shaded area.
- Return the item to the refrigerator as soon as guests have been served.
Boat Safety. Lots of folks will be heading to the lake for a family and/or friends boating adventure over the Labor Day weekend. Make it a safe one with these suggestions:
- Have your boat in good mechanical condition and have all safety equipment on board such as personal flotation devices, an emergency kit and a first aid kit.
- Stay away from restricted areas.
- Make sure someone on land knows when you leave, about what time you’re expecting to return, where you’re headed and who all is on board.
- Take a fully charged cell phone with you.
- Everyone should have a life-vest on, including infants.
- Maintain safe speeds and keep a lookout for hidden objects below the waterline
- Maintain a 50-foot distance from other boats, swimmers, docks and the shore unless operating at an idle speed.
- Install a marine-grade CO detector in your boat
- Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries available.
- Choose a designated driver before launching. Passengers that drink alcohol should drink in moderation.
- Have plenty of water on board to avoid dehydration.
Pool and Water Safety. Pools and lakes are another place you’ll find plenty of people this Labor Day. That means lots of children will be in the water as well. It’s always best if someone knows CPR, if you don’t know it now – make a point of the family taking CPR classes together soon.
- Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools or water.
- Have a fully charged cell phone with you. Call 911 immediately if a child is found unconscious in water.
- Keep rescue equipment poolside or with you at the lake. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable life-saving seconds. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.
- Have a first-aid kit close by.
- Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or lake or near a pool or lake. If a child is missing, check the water first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Never use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision.
- Don’t assume you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water; child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble.
- At public pools, use one that has a lifeguard. While not a substitute for parental or caretaker supervision, the more eyes available, the better.
Whether you’re splashing in a pool, enjoying the ultimate picnic or enjoying a ride on a boat, we want you to stay safe this Labor Day weekend. Remember: An accident is never planned. But keeping out safety tips in mind may help prevent one.