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Summer Fun Is Not Without Hazards

Accidental deaths peak in July and August; here's how to avoid dangers
(*this news item will not be available after 09/14/2017)
By Robert Preidt
Friday, June 16, 2017

FRIDAY, June 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Preventable deaths spike during the summer in the United States. But, following some simple safety measures can reduce accidents, the National Safety Council says.

"Someone dies every 4 minutes because of something we know how to prevent," said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the public service organization.

In 2015, there were more than 146,500 preventable deaths in the United States from causes such as drowning, poisoning, traffic crashes, choking and fires. That was a 7 percent increase from 2014, according to the safety council.

The rate of preventable deaths has increased after years of decline, largely due to the current prescription opioid abuse crisis and a rise in motor vehicle deaths.

Summer is the time of greatest risk. Between 2011 and 2015, preventable deaths during the months of July and August exceeded 117,000, the council said.

June is designated National Safety Month. This "is the ideal time to pause and take stock of our own safety, because history tells us that the odds may not be in our favor during the summer months," Hersman said in a safety council news release.

There are a number of ways to protect yourself and others:

  • Ask your doctor for alternatives to highly addictive opioid painkillers; store medications in a locking medicine cabinet; and keep all medicines out of reach and away from small children.
  • Never use a cellphone -- even hands-free -- while driving. When you have a night out, designate an alcohol- and drug-free driver.
  • Guard against falls by securing rugs, installing handrails on staircases and placing no-slip mats in the bathtub.
  • Before going to the pool or beach, make sure everyone knows how to swim and that someone in the group has been trained in first aid and CPR.
  • In case of a house fire, have an escape plan and do practice drills.
  • Reduce children's risk of choking by cutting their food into small pieces and not giving them hard candy.

SOURCE: National Safety Council, news release, June 2017

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