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With summer just around the corner, North Texans are beginning the process of getting back to a new normal. While no one knows for sure what that will look like—for now, many sleepaway camps, organized sports, community pools, music festivals, and other large gatherings are all on hold—there are still plenty of fun activities for the whole family.
Here are a few suggestions to get your summer off to a great start, plus tips for enjoying them safely—even during a coronavirus summer.
Besides the usual safety precautions you take with summer activities and sports, you must now keep COVID-19 top-of-mind too. Take these steps to lessen chances of getting the virus:
- Practice the CDC’s recommended social distancing by staying at least six feet away (two arms’ lengths) from people who don’t live in your household. Also avoid crowded places and group gatherings—especially if you live with at-risk individuals.
- Wear a cloth face mask in public settings where social distancing is difficult, such as in grocery stores.
- Practice good hand hygiene (wash for 20 seconds) and frequently sanitize high-touch items.
- For trips away from home, pack extra hand wipes and sanitizer gel.
- Follow CDC guidelines for visiting parks and recreational facilities, including recommendations for sticking close to home and avoiding playgrounds.
Let’s go swimming!
According to the CDC, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through water. Swimming and other water-related activities are fun, healthy ways to get outside and get physical. In addition to backyard pools, the CDC says state, local, and national parks will open their beaches and other swimming areas on a case-by-case basis, so check with the area you want to visit to see when it’s safe to get back in the water.
Here’s how to do it safely:
- Practice social distancing and hand hygiene—especially before and after meals and after using the bathroom.
- Visit parks and swimming areas close to home; traveling long distances may contribute to the spread of COVID-19 as you stop along the way.
- Gather in groups of 10 or less.
- Follow our 11 Essential Swim Safety Tips to avoid swimming pool injuries and drowning.
- Check out Know How to Avoid Water Injuries and Illnesses for help in recognizing, preventing, and treating unwelcome pool party guests such as swimmer’s ear.
With cars mostly staying parked in garages, people are out and about in neighborhoods and on trails— walking as well as riding a variety of motorized and non-motorized vehicles. This is a great time to get out and explore the great outdoors! Here are a few ways to get going.
- Ride a bike: Biking is making a big revival, with bike shops backed up with orders for new bikes as well as for assembly and maintenance. Follow the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s guidelines for bicycle safety, including:
- Always wear an NHTSA-approved helmet that fits properly; helmets.org has good information on COVID and helmet cleaning.
- Ride the right size bike.
- Drive defensively and follow street signs, signals, and road markings; even though car traffic is down, accidents still happen.
- Ride a recreational vehicle: Motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, jet skis, and golf carts are fun ways to get around but they can be dangerous if not used properly. Follow these general recreational vehicle safety tips and then check out How to Stay Safe on a Personal Recreational Vehicle for more specific safety guidelines by vehicle type.
- Drive sober; don’t drink or do drugs and ride.
- Don’t drive distracted; even if you’re using hands-free tech, it’s as unsafe as driving after having 4 beers.
- Follow all traffic laws and rules of the road and water.
Let’s go on a staycation!
Backyards have never looked so good, since we’re spending so much time in them. Turn yours into a fun zone with these ideas for the perfect family staycation.
- Bouncing off the walls: Sales of backyard bounce houses, trampolines, playground sets, and other outdoor toys were up 20 percent during March, according to one source, as families look for ways to educate and entertain their energetic kids all day, every day. Having a park’s worth of activities in your backyard can also help free you up to get in some quality work-from-home time. Just be aware that falls from playground equipment are a main way that kids get injured, including broken bones, cuts, and bruises.
- Follow all safety instructions that come with your playground equipment.
- Practice social distancing if neighbor kids come to play—in groups of less than 10, of course—and thoroughly sanitize equipment after each use.
- If a child is injured, look for the nearest pediatric ER like Jackson’s mom did when he broke his arm on his backyard swing set.
- Grilling it: Barbecued burgers and vegetables, toasty s’mores . . . yes please! Cooking food on a grill or over a fire pit says summer vacation like nothing else. To avoid burns, follow the fire safety tips below, then read First Aid for Burns: 5 Things You Should Never Do so you’ll be prepared in case of an accident.
- Never leave any open flame or heat source lit and unattended.
- Keep kids and pets away from grills and fires.
- Place fire pits and barbecues well away from structures and overhanging branches.
- Wear fireproof oven mitts and have a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Don’t try to light fires in windy or wet conditions and never use accelerants, garbage, or other materials to get a fire going.
We hope your family has a magical summer of bonding and creating memories. But if an accident or illness happens, our Medical City ERs are open, safe and staffed with expert clinicians who can help with emergencies of all kinds—COVID-related or not. For more information about how we keep families safe and create healthier tomorrows, visit our COVID-19 Resource Hub.