Looking Out for Consumers: Safe Summer Fun 

By Christine Bremer Muggli
July 2008

The sun is shining, kids are out of school, and families are making plans for summer get-a-ways.  But before you take off the grill cover and pump some air into your bike tires take a few minutes to make sure you stay safe this summer. 
There are the obvious do’s and don’ts such as buckle up, wear a life preserver, wear sunscreen, don’t leave kids and pets in a hot car, etc. Yet overlooking several important summer safety measures presents a serious danger to families.
Bike Safety
The timeless fun of bike riding can have it’s downsides as bikes are associated with more childhood injuries than any product except cars. The good news is nearly all bike related injuries are preventable by following a few safety tips.
  • Wear a helmet. A helmet practically eliminates serious injuries. For helmet ratings check out Consumer Reports or the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. Several trial attorney firms offer free helmets to those who cannot afford one.
  • Be sure tires are filled to the recommended air pressure.
  • Make sure all bolts, screws, gears and chains are properly fastened.
  • Make sure brake lines work properly and brake pads are not worn down.
  • Install reflectors on the front and back of bikes and wear bright clothes if biking at night.           
Beyond making sure your brat is cooked thoroughly there are a few important tips to keep in mind before you fire up the grill (gas or charcoal).
  • Never grill indoors, even in the garage. Burning charcoal emits carbon monoxide and your garage doesn’t provide enough ventilation to keep you safe.
  • Check all tubes on your gas grill for blockage, cracks, brittleness or holes and make sure they are not sharply bent. Use a pipe cleaner to remove insects or food.
  • Check to make sure tubes are far from hot surfaces and dripping grease, or install a heat shield over them.
Real Lawn and Garden Care
Many of us enjoy yard work and its result – beautiful green plants and colorful flowers. While we don’t have advice for the blisters you’ll get, the following pointers will help ensure blisters will be the worst of your problems.
  • Before beginning any landscaping projects call the digger’s hotline at (800) 242-8511 and have them mark areas with underground cables. There’s nothing worse than finding an electric cable with a shovel.
  • When applying pesticides follow label directions carefully. Keep children and pets away from the treated area.
  • Keep kids away from running lawn mowers. The sharp blades can send bits of rock and wood flying in all directions.
  • Take extra care when trimming trees, using ladders, cleaning gutters, etc. A few extra minutes of preparation can save you a trip to the emergency room.
Enjoy yourself, and your free time this summer. Using a bit of caution will help ensure that everyone is all smiles - until the first snowfall.
Christine Bremer Muggli is the President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice (formerly the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers), Wisconsin’s largest statewide voluntary attorney organization defending the civil justice system. Look for Christine’s columns each month.




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