The sun is out, the water is cool and the little ones will soon be enjoying summer vacation. That means a growing number of parents are considering their backyards and local beaches as places to enjoy quality time with friends, families and neighbors. But while you barbecue, splash in the water or watch the kids play outdoors, it is important to remember that 2.3 million children go to the emergency room each year due to accidents around the grill, pool and playset1.
With Memorial Day around the corner, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science company, is providing simple safety tips to help prevent children from becoming part of a tragic summer statistic and make sure the burgers and brats mix well with your backyard fun. Each year, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 8,200 home fires involving the misuse of grills, hibachis or barbecues per year2.
"It's important to have a 'safety first attitude' when entertaining on a summer day or having a pool party with kids," says John Drengenberg, UL's Consumer Safety Director. "Even though everyone wants to rush right into fun and sun, we need to commit a few minutes to safety by inspecting our backyard entertainment space and minimize potential safety hazards grilling and swimming areas.
Drengenberg says that pool and water safety are also often overlooked. Each day, three children die from drowning, making it the second leading cause of accidental death for those between the ages of 5 and 243. Even more alarming to note that 88 percent of people who have died in boating accidents were not wearing a personal floatation device (also commonly known as a life jacket)4.
UL encourages families to put safety first this summer with summer safety guidelines that include:
- Whether it's a charcoal or gas grill, always position your grill a safe distance from any house or structure
- Always check your gas grill for leaks
- Never start a gas grill with the lid closed
- Follow the 10/20 rule when you're at the pool. The 10/20 rule states the supervising adult needs to position themselves to be able to scan the pool every 10 seconds, and reach the water within 20 seconds
- Remember that ‘water wings' and other inflatable toys are not safety devices, can easily deflate and should never replace adult supervision.
- When boating, Make sure everyone on a boat has a life jacket and that it is UL listed and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard
- Look for the UL Mark on outdoor appliances such as ceiling fans, outdoor refrigerators and outdoor TVs and be sure they are rated for outdoor use; otherwise they may pose a risk of fire or shock.
- Make sure that all outdoor appliances are rated for outdoor use by UL and plugged into a GFCI outlet
For more summer safety information and a complete list of suggested summer safety guidelines, please visit http://www.safetyathome.com/.
1 CDC Childhood Injury Report: Centers For Disease Control and Prevention website. http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/images/CDC-childhoodinjury.pdf. Accessed May 16, 2012.
2 National Fire Protection Association. http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=1715&itemID=41223&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Outdoors/Grilling/Reports%20and%20statistics. Accessed May 16, 2012.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html. Accessed May 16, 2012.
4United States Coast Guard. http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/2010_Recreational_Boating_Statistics.pdf. Accessed May 16, 2012.