Labor Day often signals the end of summer and is typically the last weekend to grill, swim, hike, and travel before the cooler temperatures arrive. With the current rise in COVID-19 in our communities, Intermountain Healthcare experts want to make sure you celebrate safely, while helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.
1. Wear a Seatbelt
Utah Department of Transportation reports there were 61 unrestrained fatalities and 170 unrestrained serious injuries on Utah roads in 2020. Every 10 minutes there is a crash on Utah roads and every 36 hours, there is a death as a result of a motor vehicle crash. The most common contributing factor to roadway fatalities is a failure to buckle up. In Utah, it’s the law!
All passengers must wear seatbelts and children up to age 8 must be properly restrained in a car or booster seat. Free car seat inspection stations are offered statewide in September, which is Child Passenger Safety Month, for people with questions about proper car seat installation. Information can be found at Click It Utah, or by calling Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital at 801-662-6583 to schedule a virtual car seat check.
“The act of wearing a seatbelt is proven to save lives,” said Michael Long, MD, medical director of Trauma Outreach and Injury Prevention at Intermountain Medical Center. “In fact, 3 out of 4 people who are ejected during a fatal crash die from their injuries. You don’t want to become a statistic.”
2. Be Responsible Around Water
Tragedies can happen in the blink of an eye, and drowning is the second leading cause of death among Utah children under the age of 15. Experts at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital provide these general water safety tips, which include:
- Have children wear a life jacket whenever near water
- Never take your eyes off of children in the water
- While supervising, stay alert and avoid distractions
- Keep a telephone nearby in case of an emergency
- Teach children to swim, but remember, there is no substitute for supervision
- Empty out kiddie pools or buckets of water at home after use
“Children should be supervised whenever they are in or around water,’ said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain primary Children’s Hospital. “While it may be beneficial to have a child wear a life jacket whenever they are near water, parents should still watch their children closely at all times.”
3. Wear a Helmet
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, each year more than 3.5 million children 14 and under in the U.S. are treated for injuries from bicycle, roller blade, skateboarding, and other sports related activities. ATV’s are another source of injuries. In Utah, 22 youth died in ATV-related crashes between 1999 and 2011, and only 58 percent of Utahns report wearing a helmet while riding an ATV.
“People involved in accidents wearing helmets are far more likely to survive and get back on that bike, scooter, or ATV,” said Dr. Long. “There’s often a longer recovery time for those who don’t wear a helmet – or they don’t recover at all.”
4. Be Prepared
People who enjoy the backcountry need to be prepared for whatever conditions they may encounter. Too many people don’t bring enough water or don’t know what the weather will be like until they find themselves in a sudden downpour. Know what the weather is going to be, including the temperature so you can bring the appropriate clothing and equipment.
5. Be COVID-19 Safe
If you are eligible - get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can receive a vaccine from a Community Pharmacy, call your Primary Care Provider or go to vaccines.gov to schedule an appointment.
And if you are celebrating the holiday with family and friends, the public is asked to continue taking reasonable precautions by maintaining social distancing and when in a public setting wear a face mask.
If you think you may have COVID, get tested by calling your primary care provider.
And If you have a medical emergency, do not delay care - call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.