Long summer days are the perfect time for beaches, barbecues and other outdoor activities. But all that fun in the sun brings additional risks and dangers to avoid.
“Everyone is susceptible to injury when we let our guard down,” Eric Surman, RN, pediatric trauma program manager at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, said. “As a double layer of protection, there are some gadgets that can help keep us safe while we’re enjoying the warm weather.”
Small GPS tracking devices can be attached to your child’s clothing and send an alert to your smartphone if they wander more than a certain distance away from you.
“They also have GPS watches for kids if you’re letting them run the neighborhoods. One example is called Buddy Tag for around $30. You can establish a zone where your kids can roam and it will alert you when your child leaves the area,” Surman explains. “It also works for an adult with dementia.”
Check out SafetyTat to create a temporary tattoo for your family. “You can get them pre-printed with your cell number, so if you go to a waterpark or other big event and get separated, you can be reached,” says Surman. “It’s also helpful if you have a nonverbal child, or a child with a medical condition.”
When traveling, your overnight accommodations aren’t usually as safe as your home, especially if you have smaller children. On-the-go baby-proofing items such as doorknob covers, travel safety gates and bed rails or guards are quick and easy ways to keep your little ones secure.
“Also, most hotels don’t have carbon monoxide detectors, so that’s something I pack when we go to hotels,” Surman said.
We’re most comfortable at home, so that’s where we often let down our guard. But we shouldn’t. Pools, UV exposure and traffic can be just as dangerous in your own yard.
“We see a lot of injuries as a result of kids falling out of windows. Kids think the screen will protect them, but it won’t,” Surman stated. Window fall prevention devices like Guardian Angel can be easily installed for extra protection.
Another item Surman recommends, and has at home, is a driveway guard. “It’s an orange netting you can put across your driveway if your kids are out. It’ll stop balls from rolling into the street and prevent people from pulling in the driveway,” she said.
For your teenagers, there are a number of apps that monitor WiFi activity so you know what they’re doing online, especially if they are home alone while you are at work.
Other outdoor safety gadgets to consider include:
- swimming pool alarm that alert you if someone falls in
- portable battery powered radios for natural disasters like tornadoes or other emergencies
- UV exposure stickers and wristbands to help monitor your time in the sun
Overall, there’s no substitute for being aware. “Technology is good and helpful, but it’s just a backup plan. You have to be vigilant,” Surman warns. “You can’t let your guard down - never have a false sense of security.”