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Ways to keep the whole family safe this summer

The Northwest Arkansas Red Cross provides tips on how to stay safe all summer long.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Now that school is out, it is time to enjoy summer break. While partaking in outdoor activities, be sure that you know how to keep you, and your whole family safe outside.

"Summer is a great time of year to get outside and have fun with your friends and loved ones," said Julie Brown, executive director of the American Red Cross serving Northwest Arkansas. "But there are dangers if you don't swim, camp or grill properly. We here at the Red Cross want you to have a safe summer and offer these steps you can follow."

Whether you are hanging out by the pool, grilling in the backyard, or camping in the woods, there are certain precautions to take so that the whole family will stay safe.

If you plan on going to the pool, lake, or anywhere else to swim, remember to always keep an eye on children who are 14-years-old or younger. According to the CDC, every day an average of 11 people die in the United States from unintentional drowning. The largest way to prevent this from happening is to familiarize yourself and your children with water, and learn first aid and water CPR in case of an emergency.

Another way that many people enjoy being outside during the summer is camping out. If you plan on going on a camping trip this summer, remember to pack a first aid kit. Make sure your first aid kit includes the supplies to take care of any bug bites, stings or any cuts that may happen on the trip.

Another camping safety tip is to share your location and travel plans with a loved one or neighbor so that someone is aware of your travel plans in the event that something goes wrong.

One summertime favorite activity is utilizing your grill. Whether you are planning to grill out for a backyard cookout, or just make dinner for your family, there are still ways to be more cautious. According to the Northwest Arkansas Red Cross, grilling sparks more than 10,000 home fires on average each year.

In order to avoid your home being next in the line of fire, always supervise your grill when it is in use, and never add charcoal or lighter fluid to a grill that is already lit. Another way to keep your house safe is to move your grill into the open, away from all trees, decks or sidings of the house.

When thinking about how to keep your family safe this summer, don't forget about your furry friends as well.

"If we're hot then guess what? Our pets are likely hot too," said John Brimley from American Red Cross. "As we move into the summer with those triple digits just always be mindful of walking on pavement, burning our paws of our pets is a huge concern."

The Red Cross also advises everyone not to leave their pets in hot vehicles, even just for a few minutes. When the weather is hot outside, cars can quickly reach up to 120 degrees, even when the windows are cracked.

Also, be aware of the signs of heat strokes within your pets.

Some of the signs include:

  • heavy panting 
  • being unable to calm down 
  • brick red gum color 
  • fast pulse rate 
  • being unable to get up

If you notice any of these signs with your pet, be sure to get the medical attention that they need.

Above all, enjoy your summer and soak up the sun, but remember- stay safe!

RELATED: Fayetteville reminds residents of pet safety and owner responsibility during summer

RELATED: 'Only takes two seconds': Father urges safety after son's drowning

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