Thursday , 17 October 2019

Summer Safety Part 2: Heat and Fireworks

By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

DoD graphic by Regina Ali
DoD graphic by Regina Ali

Is it hot enough for you yet this summer? If you’re living in the continental U.S., there’s a good chance that answer is yes.

Heat waves have moved across the country in the past few weeks, and now that your kids are out of school for the summer, it’s probably a good time to remind them how to make it through the day outside of the serenity of an air-conditioned house. Since the Fourth of July is around the corner, it’s also a good time for a little fireworks safety refresher course.

heat wave

Here’s our second installation of summer safety tips:

Surviving High Heat:

It’s summer in most of the places in which our troops are stationed, which means parades and outdoor time for the family – and the usual heat that comes with it. Here are some things to know when getting your kids ready to spend the day in the sun:

  • Dress for the heat – wear breathable fabrics, like cotton, as well as hats and sunglasses that can protect your face and eyes from harmful rays.
  • Hydrate! Always make sure your kids have lots of water. Many drinks like sodas and powdered drink mixes are full of sugar, which can actually dehydrate you more, so the key is water. Make sure they have plenty!
    Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera
    Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera
  • Keep an eye out for heat advisories and try to plan outdoor activities around the hottest parts of the day (between noon and 4 p.m.). Find shade when you can.
  • This one is pretty obvious, but it always needs to be said: NEVER leave your children unattended in a car. Heat can kill very quickly. The most tragic cases are almost always accidents, so try to put something in your front seat or dashboard that reminds you that your child is in the car with you – a teddy bear, a pacifier or even a “baby on board” sticker. That way, if you’re rushing around running errands, you have a reminder that they’re in there with you, too.
  • If you’re kids are excessively sweating, seem weak, dizzy, have clammy skin, muscle cramps, get nauseous or faint, they might have heat exhaustion. Get them into a cool area and, if needed, get the help of a doctor.
    A mom sprays her daughter with sunscreen before swimming at the Hurlburt Aquatic Center on Hurlburt Field, Florida. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Meagan Schutter
    A mom sprays her daughter with sunscreen before swimming at the Hurlburt Aquatic Center on Hurlburt Field, Florida. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Meagan Schutter
  • Sunscreen: Ultraviolet rays can damage skin within 15 minutes, so make sure you put a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher on your children about 10-15 minutes before they go outside so it has time to properly soak in.  Reapply it often, especially if your kids are swimming, sweating or toweling off. Sunscreens have a shelf life, so throw them away if they’re more than a year or two old. Make sure to use cosmetics and lip balms that have an SPF, too.
    Learn all about how UV rays affect your skin and what’s in sunscreens to combat them here. You can also learn more about treating bad sunburn and skin cancer here.


There’s no holiday that’s more synonymous with fireworks than the Fourth of July, and it’s coming up quickly. Chances are there are going to be fireworks involved in your celebration. But, as you likely know, exploding varying chemicals into the air can be a dangerous thing for anyone who handles them (just ask Jason Pierre-Paul of the NFL’s New York Giants).

Courtesy of Consumer Product Safety Commission
Courtesy of Consumer Product Safety Commission

Here are a couple of things to remember when setting off fireworks around your kids:

  • Don’t allow your kids access to the fireworks.
  • If you allow them sparklers, make sure you monitor them. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals – and about half of sparkler-related injuries happen to children under age 14, so they’re no joke.
  • Never put any body part directly over a firework device after lighting the fuse, and make sure you back up immediately.
  • Keep a water source handy (like a filled bucket) in case something goes wrong.
  • Don’t ever point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Don’t ever try to relight duds!
  • Once they’re done burning, douse fireworks in water before throwing them out so you don’t cause a trash fire.
  • Be sure to know what is legal in your state, too. A few states only allow sparklers, while some have bans on all consumer fireworks.
Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kimberlyn Adams
Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kimberlyn Adams

Find out more about fireworks safety here.

Earlier this week we posted a blog on water safety tips and Zika prevention. Up next in our summer safety tips series: sports and recreational summer safety, including camping.

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