Summer vacations are supposed to be full of fun activities, spending time with family and friends, and often, visiting a place you’ve never been before. Whether you are visiting an amusement park, the beach, or a national park, there are many resources that provide information that you can use to make safe, informed choices about the activities offered and dangers you might encounter.
Amusement park rides can be thrilling and really fun—and they can also be terrifying and dangerous for people with certain conditions such as pregnancy, back or neck injuries, and even high blood pressure. The website www.saferparks.org/ has safety information on rides, including risk factors and how injuries often occur, safety tips, overview of US regulations and industry standards, and public accident records from participating state agencies. For those that have witnessed something unsafe or are concerned, there is information on how to report this information.
The U.S. is blessed with hundreds of national parks that highlight the natural beauty of our country. Many of these national parks also allow us to spend time in a natural setting, which means we are sharing space with the native inhabitants-plants, animals and even unique geological features that can be dangerous such as natural hot springs. Visiting www.nps.gov and selecting the park you want to visit is a great way to plan your trip! The website offers incredible information on things you should know including geography of the park, climate, animal and plant life, and accessibility.
A day at the beach can be a great way to spend your vacation. Some beaches have professional lifeguards, but even if the beach has lifeguards it is important to be aware of the hazards that exist. Ocean tides, including dangerous riptides, can turn a great summer day into disaster. Educating yourself about the conditions of the water and tides is important. The National Weather Service has a great website that offers safety tips: www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/tips.shtml. In addition to water dangers, remember to wear sunscreen and drink lots of water!
While spontaneity may be the spice of life, it doesn’t hurt to do your research on activities before you go. You’ll be better aware of risks and able to make choices that will provide safe and fun entertainment for the whole family.