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Tips To Stay Safe & Smart This Summer

At last, warm weather is here! It’s time to enjoy the outdoors and all this season has to offer. In our backyard safety guide, we’ll cover some important safety tips for you and your loved ones, from sun smarts to keeping backyard bonfires safe all summer long.

In the months ahead, be smart and safe — and of course, have fun!

Sun Smarts

Mother applies sunscreen to daughter's face at the beachIt’s natural to want to be outside and in the sun as much as possible, especially after a snowy winter. It’s important to remember, though, that the sun poses danger to our skin and health.

Skin cancer is a very real threat. Did you know that one in five Americans will receive a skin cancer diagnosis in their lifetime?

The sun can cause other harm to our bodies, too, such as premature aging, eye damage, and other skin damage. It can even suppress our immune systems!

When you are outside, take necessary precautions to protect yourself from sun damage:

  • Wear sunscreen (at least SPF 30 — click here for information on choosing the right sunscreen) and reapply regularly.
  • Watch for any changes in your skin, such as moles.
  • Wear sunglasses, a hat, and protective clothing.
  • Seek shade and limit sun exposure.
  • Stay hydrated.

And remember: no tanning is safe tanning.

To learn more about sun safety, check out our Sun Safety Best Practices blog!

Safe Grilling

Person grilling in backyardGrilling is extremely common in the summer months, but, like anything involving fire and excessive heat, it can be dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), grills, hibachis, and barbecues were responsible for 10,600 home fires each year between 2014 and 2018 – and thousands of people visit the emergency room each year because of grill-related injuries!

Whether you are using a propane or gas grill, check out this safety fact sheet from the NFPA. Always make sure you keep children and pets away from your grill, clean your grill regularly, and do not use it near your home, low-hanging branches, or other structures.

Heat Protection

Woman holds thermometer during a heat waveHeat isn’t just dangerous; it can be deadly. When a person’s internal body temperature gets too hot, the body can’t cool down, resulting in organ failure and even death. 94% of heat-related deaths occur between May and September each year, according to the CDC.

Listen to your body when it is hot out. Wear loose, light clothing and hydrate. If there’s a heat wave in the forecast, consider staying in the air conditioning or by a fan indoors.

Know what to do in extreme heat– and the signs that you or someone around you is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke: Stay Safe and Healthy in the Summer Heat.

Backyard Fire Safety

People roasting marshmallows at backyard fireFor many people, a backyard fire is a favorite pastime. It’s a chance to enjoy the outdoors after the sun sets, spend time with loved ones, roast marshmallows, and make memories! In 2016, the American Society of Landscape Architects declared fire pits and fireplaces were the top outdoor design trend for homeowners. With the rise in popularity, though, comes a rise in backyard fire-related accidents and injuries.

If you are hosting or attending a backyard fire, keep safety a priority. Ensure you know the laws for your municipality, check the weather forecast, and keep fires at least ten feet from any structure. Ideally 25 feet away.

Read our Guidelines for Fire Pit Safety for tips on keeping your backyard fire safe and fun!

Avoiding Ticks and Other Backyard Pests

Person spraying bug spray in backyardWhen spending time in your backyard, make sure you use insect repellent!

Insects are more than just annoying – they can carry diseases to humans and our pets. Ticks, for example, can transmit Lyme disease, which results in symptoms such as arthritis, severe headaches, heart palpitations, and brain inflammation. They typically find their hosts in the grass, so it’s important to keep your grass short, remove extra tick hiding places from your yard such as old furniture or trash, and apply pesticide. After being outside, shower and check your children, your pets, and yourself carefully for ticks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an entire page dedicated to avoiding ticks: preventing tick bites on yourself and your pets and keeping them out of your yard. Take a look!

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Katherine Trautwein

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.