July 7, 2013

Let's be careful out there

By MORGAN SEARLE McClatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 1)

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Vigilance poolside is paramount. “The truth is drowning is silent,” says Dr. Melissa Arca, pediatrician, blogger and mother of two. “It’s important for parents and watchers to know they can’t hear someone drowning, and they need to be watching.”

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Summer is grilling time, but do follow the rules for avoiding food-borne illnesses.

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Drowning-prevention features include access-limiting enclosures, self-closing and latching gates, pool covers that meet safety requirements, alarms and other protective measures.

Old-fashioned vigilance is also paramount. During summer gatherings, parents often assume someone else has an eye on children, Arca said. People also think they would notice if a child were drowning.

"The truth is drowning is silent," Arca said. "It's important for parents and watchers to know they can't hear someone drowning, and they need to be watching."

Arca advised choosing a "designated watcher" to keep an eye on pool activities during backyard parties.

Mike Geremia and Patty Roth, owners of Geremia Pools, also stressed the importance of constant supervision.

"Bring things outside that you might need," Geremia said. "Bring a cooler so you don't have to run in to grab drinks. Bring a portable phone."

For both kids and adults, Geremia recommended that pools be at least 7½ feet deep for diving and 4½ feet deep for a slide.

"Just don't take having a pool for granted," Geremia said. "Be on your tiptoes and be alert. That's all it takes."

WILD ANIMAL AND PEST SAFETY

Paul Baumeister, owner of Master Pest Patrol, said homeowners should be aware of animals and pests that may live in yards and outdoor spaces.

Wasps, yellow jackets and bees are common backyard pests. While some insects can be exterminated with over-the-counter products, large numbers of yellow jackets can be dangerous. Also, bees should be protected.

"We don't kill bees," Baumeister said. "We try to save them as much as possible."

Raccoons can be a concern, especially to pet owners. They can live under houses, destroy gardens and transmit rabies. Common signs of raccoons include holes in fences and scratch marks on trees and roofs.

Skunks also dig holes underneath houses and sheds. But they can't climb over fences, Baumeister said, so making sure boards and supports are free of holes and entry points will usually keep them out of the yard.

Both species can be destructive. Discourage them from becoming long-term residents. Treat yards with repellent and call animal experts to help with any evictions.

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Other potential summer hazards to be aware of include bees and wild animals.

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