(Long Island, N.Y.) We’re smack in the middle of summer, and it’s pretty easy to slack in the safety department. Summer is a time to relax and chill out, so here’s some expert tips to keep safe in the season of fun.
Water Safety – Parents are usually on guard around water activities–but sometimes get swept away the carefree atmosphere—so here’s an important reminder to keep you on high alert. In 2005, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported drowning as the second-leading cause of injury related death for children ages 1-14. In an effort to.
To help keep safety first, The YMCA offers this helpful tip list:
- Children must have adult supervision at all times.
- No one, not even adults, should ever swim alone.
- Be prepared by learning lifesaving, First Aid and CPR techniques.
- Always have a stocked First Aid kit, cordless phone, emergency numbers and sunscreen close at hand.
- Backyard pools should have posted rules, ring buoys and security fences with self-closing gates and child-proof locks.
- If you have an above-ground pool, secure and lock the steps or remove them completely when not in use.
- Follow the posted rules in any water environment.
- Before diving, know the depth, incline and any underwater obstructions.
- Never dive in an above-ground pool.
- Children should use inflatable toys only under strict adult supervision and never as a safety device.
- Avoid inflatable armbands or “swimmies” – they can be dangerous, while giving a false sense of confidence.
- When boating, always wear a life-jacket in or around the water.
- And everyone should learn swimming and basic water safety skills
Picnic-Perfect! Summer picnics are perfect time to flex your culinary muscles…but before you throw another party, you might want to to pay attention to this guy: Chef David Pantone, dean of education for Florida Culinary Institute, has thrown picnics for as many as 500 people, and he shares his 10 tips for making your next outdoor meal perfect in every way.
- Keep it cool – or hot! Keep all foods below 40* or above 140* to slow the growth of bacteria. Hot items should go from grill to plates with minimum time in between. For cold items, chemical ice packs or plain old ice can help keep things cool.
- Freeze bottled water, or juice packs, and use them as ice packs to keep the rest of the food in the cooler cold.
- Try one of the new portable, refrigerated coolers. You plug it into the power outlet in your car and it keeps everything cool while you are traveling.
- Acid rocks! Foods high in acid keep best in warm weather. Try Citrus Salad, Lemony Shrimp Cocktail and Mango Chicken Salad below.
- No need to hold the mayo: But remember that store bought mayonnaise keeps better than homemade. (But who really makes homemade mayo anyway?)
- Use fresh herbs whenever possible. They add a freshness to salads and marinades that you can’t get from dried herbs. Cilantro especially says summer.
- Create contrast: The most appealing warm-weather dishes contain contrasting flavors. One of my favorites is Fire Shrimp and Cantaloupe. The spicy shrimp is complemented by the cool, sweet melon.
- Packing heat? Wear gloves. The popularity and availability of hot peppers has increased dramatically over the past few years. When working with hot peppers, make sure you wear gloves and avoid touching your eyes. The pepper juice can cause burning and irritation.
- Stay cool as…an avocado? Avocados are one of summer’s best picnic foods, but they have that tendency to turn an unsightly brown. Here’s a hint: cover dishes containing avocados by placing plastic wrap directly on the food. This will help prevent the oxidation that causes avocados to darken.
- Zip-lock trick: Marinate food for grilling in a zip-lock bag to make clean-up a snap. As an easy, tasty marinade use your favorite oil and vinegar based salad dressing. Simply place your steak, chicken, or seafood into a zip-lock bag and add the dressing. Let this marinate and then grill it to perfection. Cleanup is a matter of throwing the bag away — what could be easier?
While You’re away… Thieves don’t take vacations! In fact, they’re just waiting for you to hit the road. So what’s the best way to secure your home while on vacation?
The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) has created a simple 4-point checklist.
- Discourage the thief: Since burglars prefer to break in to houses that look unoccupied, lower your home’s appeal by making it look like you’re there. Use timers on lights, radios and televisions. Ask neighbors to put trash cans out on trash day. Leave drapes and shades open. Leave a car parked in the driveway, or ask a neighbor to park there. Do not let your mail or newspapers pile up; arrange for mail and newspaper delivery to stop, or ask a friend to help. Mow your lawn before you leave.
- Prevent easy access: Make your home a more difficult target by increasing the time it takes a burglar to enter. Lock all doors and windows, and secure the garage door. Install deadbolt locks for added security. Trim your trees and hedges; this gives burglars fewer hiding places. Replace burned-out yard lights, and consider upgrading with built-in motion detectors.
- Manage the risk: Make sure your neighbors know you are going on vacation; ask them to watch your house. Tell them how long you will be gone and the names or descriptions of anyone that may need access to your house. Leave a house key and a number where you can be reached, with a trusted individual. For extended vacations, consider a house sitter. Notify police when you will be away.
- Detect an intruder: NBFAA recommends investing in a home security system. In an industry survey of 1,000 public safety officials, 85 percent of police chiefs said security systems decrease the likelihood a home will be burglarized, and almost 90 percent felt security systems increase their chances of apprehending burglars. Because crime statistics show that most security systems are turned off in those homes that are burglarized, NBFAA reminds consumers to activate their systems, especially when on vacation. Finally, make sure that anyone with access to the home knows how to properly operate the system.