Summer Safety Tips
By Paul Gagliardi 

As summer gets into full swing with rising temperatures, the smells of tasty fare from grills and the hum of lawnmowers, it's important to keep you and your family safe during summertime activities.

Grilling, swimming, biking and fireworks displays, among others, carry with them fun and excitement for the whole family, but they need to be done in a safe manner.

Fireworks and summer fun go hand in hand, but make sure they are handled properly. In 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had reports of 9,800 fireworks-related injuries and 11 deaths. Important safety tips include: never point or throw fireworks at another person, never try to re-light or pick up fireworks, keep a safe distance immediately after lighting and light one at a time. It's also important to have a hose or bucket of water near by.

According to the CPSC, about 600 fires/explosions occur with gas grills resulting in injuries to about 30 people each year. When you're grilling, make sure to check the grill hose for cracking, and never store the tank inside your home. When using a charcoal grill, never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles or tents.

When you or your children head out on a bicycle this summer, make sure to never leave home without your helmet. The CPSC notes that studies on bike helmets have shown they reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent. Helmets and knee/elbow pads should also be used when rollerblading and skateboarding. It's also important to obey traffic laws when biking.

As you head out to the swimming pool or nearby lake/river, check if a lifeguard is on duty and if you don't have a cell phone handy in case of emergencies, check to see where the nearest phone is located. If the pool is at your home, place safety fences (CPSC recommends height of 4 feet) around the pool area and closely supervise your children. Also keep rescue equipment near the pool.

Lawn and garden care can be dangerous. There are many ways to protect your family and yourself during these activities. About 230,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries related to lawn and garden tools, according to the CPSC. The commission also notes about 75 people are killed and about 20,000 injured on or near riding lawnmowers and garden tractors.

Before mowing, remove any objects such as sticks, rocks, tools, toys and any other such items from the area. Make sure to dress appropriately for the work being done, such as safety glasses, work gloves, hearing protection and don't wear loose fitting clothing. You should also wear steel-toed boots when using chainsaws. Never allow children near any power equipment or near any other dangerous tools, and children should never be near the yard when mowing.

Keep these important safety tips in mind and enjoy all that summer has to offer. Have fun, stay safe and remember your sunscreen!

Paul Gagliardi is the President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, the state's largest statewide voluntary bar organization. The Wisconsin Association for Justice stands with consumers to promote a fair and effective justice system for every citizen, not just the privileged and wealthy.

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