NORTHBROOK, Ill., June 9, 2010 - The sizzle of summer is upon us; kids are anxious to play outside, dad has already reprised his role as the barbeque king, and backyard and community pools are ready for splash-tastic excitement. While these summertime activities make for fond memories, they also send 2.7 million kids to the emergency room every year due to accidents in or around the home.
This summer, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) - the leading product safety testing organization - is encouraging families not to take a "vacation" from safety, and follow some simple grilling, pool and play set safety tips. Because of the potential for minor accidents like scrapes and bruises, to more serious ones like near-drownings during the summer months, UL asks that parents consider safety before allowing their children to rush outside or dip even one toe into a neighborhood pool.
"Nothing interrupts summer fun like an unexpected trip to the emergency room because of a preventable accident around the grill, in the pool or on the playground," says UL's consumer safety director John Drengenberg. "To avoid preventable accidents, we're asking parents to stay aware of their surroundings and the potential safety hazards, and take the necessary steps to keep their families safe."
UL is helping parents keep their families safe with these sizzling summer safety tips:
Grilling Safety Tips
- Keep grills at least a safe distance from any structure: Grilling mishaps cause more than 8,300 fires and send 3,000 people to the emergency room each year. Never grill indoors or near garages or porches, even if it's raining.
- Never leave the grill unattended and dispose of charcoal away from kids and pets: Coals get very hot, in some cases up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait until the coals have completely cooled before disposing of them or cool them down with a hose before discarding in an area far from where people would walk."
- Have a spray bottle and fire extinguisher nearby: Just a few squirts from a spray bottle or knowing how to use a fire extinguisher can help handle flare-ups and keep any barbecue mishaps from getting out of hand.
Pool Safety Tips
- Supervision is a must: Follow the 10/20 rule when you're at the pool. The 10/20 rule states the supervising adult needs to be able to scan the pool within 10 seconds and reach the water within 20 seconds.
- Flotation devices, toys and inflatable swimming aids are not safety devices: These popular poolside items are toys and can easily puncture and deflate.
- Empty small wading pools after children are done playing and remove all toys: Infants can drown in just a few inches of water. Pool toys may attract children to the pool when it is unattended.
Play Set Safety Tips
- Carefully inspect backyard play sets: Make sure equipment is anchored safely in the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed and bolts are not protruding.
- Install protective surfacing: Place rubber tiles or mulch under the play set, at least six feet in all directions, to prevent serious injuries should a child fall.
- Check for spaces that could trap children: Openings in guardrails and between ladder rungs should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
To learn more about UL's summer safety tips, go to: Safetyathome.com.