Although the calendar doesnâ€™t yet confirm it, for all intents and purposes, itâ€™s summer.
With it comes a slower pace, a more relaxed, casual atmosphere and attitude. Picnics; amusement parks; endless hours and endless games of baseball, softball, tennis and golf; vacations at the beach or mountains or far-away locales are all a part of summer.
Sadly, so is tragedy.
Several articles have run the past several weeks in this newspaper that have either highlighted events which have ripped at the heart of all of us, or alerted us to the consequence of tragedies that can be avoided if we simply take the time to stop, think and prepare.
All it takes are just several seconds â€” seconds that can mean the difference between life and death.
Several seconds were all it took to snuff out the precious life of a two-year old girl when she drowned. So pay attention when our children are around bodies of water. Even shallow wading pools that dot many a backyard can pose a danger.
Several seconds are all it will take to check the back seat of cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs to make sure all children (and pets) havenâ€™t been forgotten and locked in cars that will be parked for hours under the rays of a hot sun.
Several seconds are all it will take to remind our children not to dash out into streets; also, to look both ways and make sure traffic is clear before crossing.
Several seconds are all it will take to warn our children to be aware of strangers (Make sure this is coupled with constant education and reinforcement).
Several seconds are all it will take to frequently remind our children where to go and what to do to escape a fire in the home. (This, too, should be taught and rehearsed on a regular basis).
There are also other concerns that will take more than several seconds to safeguard our children, but which are equally important. Such as fireworks.
Yes, theyâ€™re fun. But theyâ€™re also dangerous; more dangerous than most of us understand.
By now, almost all of us have heard or read about people who have been seriously injured by fireworks. Some of us have possibly been personally affected, either directly or by knowing someone who has lost an eye, finger(s) or hearing.
However, how many of us are aware that even so-called â€œsafeâ€ fireworks such as sparklers can harm? For example, sparklers burn at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit! Thatâ€™s not safe.
So leave the fireworks to the professionals.
That means we adults have to be just that: Adults. Sometimes that means saying â€œno,â€ despite our childrenâ€™s often-incessant pleadings. Such as not allowing them on personal water crafts they havenâ€™t been trained to use. Such as not allowing them to take off life-jackets or vests when boating.
Perhaps most important of all is making sure our children know how to swim.
Sign them up for swimming lessons. Let them be taught by professional, certified instructors who will teach them not only how to swim, but what to do in emergencies.
Remember, while summertime is a time to kick back and relax, we must never relax our guard when it comes to our children. Never.
by Steve Steiner