Just like you, we’re looking forward to the warmest season of the year—summer! Get ready for sunny days, outdoor activities and festivals with our summer safety tips. Read on to ensure you have a memorable, safe summer.
1. Practice sun safety
Avoid sunburns by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least SPF 30. Generously apply it 20 minutes before going outside—and reapply frequently. Don’t forget about your face and eyes—protect them by wearing a hat and sunglasses with an ultraviolet (UV) A/B certified seal.
2. Stay cool and hydrated
Sunshine and high temperatures increase your risk of sunstroke and heat exhaustion—both can be life-threatening for infants, young children and seniors. To avoid this, stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drinks. Increase your vitamin C intake—it provides a natural defense against heat stroke, exhaustion and heat rash. Make sure to stay cool by wearing light-coloured clothing and seeking shade often. Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle.
3. Be safe in and on the water
When visiting bodies of water, make sure you and your family are equipped with life jackets that are properly fitted to each individual and approved by Transport Canada. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so never leave them unsupervised in or near water.
4. Avoid pesky bug bites
While the risk of getting a serious disease from a bug bite in Alberta is low, it’s important to be aware of the risks and how you can prevent them. Cover up with light-coloured clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes and allows you to see ticks easily. Wear insect repellent; but apply sunscreen first. After being outside, check yourself, your children and pets for any ticks or bug bites. If you find a bug bite, follow proper instructors on how to treat it quickly to reduce the chance of infection or disease. You can find treatment instructions on MyHealth.Alberta.ca or by calling Health Link at 811.
5. Play safe
Make sure that backyard and playground equipment is properly secured to the ground and teach children how to play safely. Be especially careful around recreational trampolines, which are an increasing cause of injuries among children—and ensure all trampolines contain a safety net enclosure and that any use is closely supervised. Always supervise children playing outdoors if they’re under the age of 12—be attentive and close enough to take action if needed.
6. Wear a helmet
To protect yourself from injury, it’s important to wear a helmet when on a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, rollerblades or when operating a motorized off-road vehicle. Alberta legislature states that a helmet is required for anyone operating a motorcycle or an off-highway vehicle—for example, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Albertans under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when cycling. Make sure your helmet fits properly—it should be snug, level front-to-back, sit an inch above your eyebrows and allow for two fingers to fit between your chin and the strap.
7. Camp safely
Plan ahead to be prepared for any situation when camping. Bring a map of the area and make sure someone is aware of where you’re headed—especially if there’s no cellphone service. Bring clothing for all types of weather and always pack an emergency kit with a flashlight, a radio, extra batteries and medical supplies. Avoid attracting bears to your campsite by keeping food, garbage and recyclables inside a vehicle or a hard-sided trailer. In the event of severe weather, seek shelter in a building or metal-roofed vehicle—never stay in your tent.
8. Keep food fresh
Prepare and handle foods safely to reduce the risk of food-borne illness—especially when barbequing or going outdoors. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food. Use hand sanitizer if you’re camping or on a picnic. Keep food between 4 and 6°C to prevent growth of harmful bacteria. Discard any cooked food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours. When in doubt, throw it out!
9. Protect your home
Follow some of these simple tips to decrease the possibility of someone breaking into your home while you’re away on vacation. If you’re going to mention your vacation on social media, make sure your profile and status updates are set to private. While on vacation, avoid geotagging pictures or adding the location to public status and story updates. Have friends or neighbours check in on your home to bring in mail or identify any leaks or hazards that could become bigger problems. As a bonus, their visits will make potential criminals think your house is occupied.
10. Travel with peace of mind
No one expects to be in an accident or struck by illness while on vacation, but unexpected events can happen. Without proper travel coverage, you could face potential financial burdens with high medical bills not covered by provincial health care. Don’t travel outside Alberta without emergency travel coverage for you and your family. Always keep a copy of your health and travel coverage with you—and a copy with a trusted emergency contact back home. Be sure to consult your doctor to get recommended vaccines for your trip or if you have any concerns about travelling with a medical condition.