Summertimes warm weather prompts most people to get outside and
enjoy more outdoor activities. Regardless of which activity you choose
swimming, boating, bicycling, gardening it is important to avoid health
and safety hazards. The tips in this booklet will help you avoid some of the
more common hazards associated with the summer season, so you can have fun in
No Sweat was compiled by the Illinois Department of Public Health with the
assistance of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois
Emergency Management Agency, the Illinois Secretary of States Office, the
University of Illinois Extension, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Time at the Beach
have more fun at the beach if you know how to avoid potential health
bathing beaches must display a current license issued by the Illinois
Department of Public Health. Be sure one is posted.
any beach littered with trash or other debris. Garbage attracts bugs and can
wash into the water. Look for water that is reasonably clear and free of
floating materials and odors. Avoid swimming at beaches where there are large
populations of ducks, geese or gulls. The waste produced by these birds causes high
bacteria levels in the water.
for movement in the water; it helps keep the water clean. Do not swim in
stagnant or still water.
for a sandy not muddy beach that has a grassy or wooded area
around it. Such areas reduce surface runoff into the swimming water.
swim at any beach right after a heavy rain. Runoff following a heavy rain may
result in a high bacteria level.
diving at a beach, exercise extreme caution. Beach water is not as clear as
water in a pool, so underwater obstructions may not be visible. If there is
any doubt, do not dive.
- Avoid having beach water in your mouth or nose.
information visit the Illinois Department of Public Health
beach inspection program Web site.
is not as popular as it once was because of the growing awareness that spending
too much time in the sun may increase the risk of skin cancer. If you do
sunbathe at a beach, in the backyard or at a swimming pool take
precautions to protect yourself from over-exposure to the suns
the time you spend in the sun.
overdo it when the weather starts to turn warm. Begin with 15 minutes a day;
then slowly increase the time you spend in the sun.
liberal amounts of sunscreen with a high sun-protection factor (SPF), even
on cloudy days.
dark glasses to protect your eyes.
swimming at a beach or at a pool, do not enter the water alone unless a
lifeguard is on duty. Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet
of safety. A drowning victim may not be able to call for
If you see
someone in trouble, try to reach the person with something he or she can hold
on to, such as a shepherds crook, jacket, belt, stick, rope, water ski,
oar or fishing pole. A life preserver ring with a line attached enables you to
pull the person to safety. If a life ring or a life jacket is not available,
use objects that float, such as a plastic bottle, ball or picnic
cooler. Be sure to throw the object within the drowning
victim is too far away to assist from shore, use an air mattress,
surfboard, small boat, raft or anything else you can row or paddle with your
hands. Help the person climb onto the float or have him them on while you
paddle back to shore. Approach a person who is in trouble in the water very
cautiously. Do not let the victim pull you under.
option is to swim out and tow the victim back to shore, but try this only if
you are a good swimmer and trained in lifesaving techniques. When swimming
toward a victim, approach the person from behind. Even strong swimmers can
drown trying to help others in the water.
more about lifesaving procedures, contact your local American Red Cross
swim in any of Illinois 3,500 public swimming pools, follow these health
and safety tips.
for a current operating license from the Illinois Department of Public Health;
this license must be displayed.
Determine if a lifeguard is present, especially if children are with
you. If no lifeguard is on duty, do not let children swim unless they are
accompanied by a responsible adult who knows lifesaving techniques and first
aid. No one should swim alone, no matter how experienced a swimmer that person
around the pool area to be certain lifesaving devices, such as a floating ring
buoy and shepherds crook, are readily available for emergency use.
sure covers are installed on all drains of a swimming pool or in a wading
pool. The suction created by the pools circulating pumps can be very
dangerous unless it is reduced by darin covers.
reduce the risk of eye, ear, nose or throat infection from contaminated water,
swim only in pools in which water quality is properly maintained. Although it
is impossible to tell if water is free of bacteria, the water should appear
crystal clear, be continuously circulated and be maintained at a level that
allows free overflow into the gutter or skimmer. There should not be a
strong odor of ammonia or chlorine.
information visit the Department
pool safety Web site.
is a popular form of recreation and a practical means of transportation for
more than 4 million people in Illinois. However as bicyclings popularity
has increased so, too, has the number of bicycle-related injuries and deaths. More than
4,000 bicyclists are injured each year in Illinois. The best protection against
injury is to know how to ride your bicycle safely. When riding on a street or
road, follow all traffic safety laws and rules that apply to people driving
vehicles. The following rules are particularly important for bicyclists:
Because they reduce the chances of a serious head injury in case of a
crash, bicycle helmets are essential. Always strap on an approved safety
helmet before you ride.
bright-colored clothing during the day and white or reflective clothing at
night to increase your visibility to drivers.
- Bicycling after dark is very hazardous. Avoid
riding at night if possible but, if you do ride in the dark, the law says your
bike must be equipped with a front light that is visible for at least 500 feet
and a rear red reflector that can be seen for up to 600 feet.
ride with the traffic flow, as close to the right edge of the road as
all traffic signals, pavement markings and directions given by police
hand signals to let drivers know your intentions.
to look over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving to the
pass on the right. Motorists often will not look in that direction for passing
moving the same speed as traffic, ride in the middle of the lane, especially at
both hands on the brakes. Allow extra stopping time in the rain.
alert for cars pulling out and make eye contact with the drivers to ensure you
have been seen.
weave between parked cars.
ride one to a bike. Your bike is harder to balance with another person on it
and a passenger may block your view of what is in front or back of you.
addition to state laws, many municipalities have ordinances restricting
bicycles in certain areas. Contact local law enforcement agencies in the areas
where you plan to ride. For more information on bicycle safety, write or call
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Injury and Violence Prevention
535 W. Jefferson St. Springfield, IL 62761
TTY (hearing impaired use only) 800-547-0466
your bicycle regularly to be sure it is safe to ride.
should be securely attached, properly adjusted and spin freely with all spokes
reflectors should be clean and intact.
the seat and handlebars to a comfortable position and be sure all nuts and
bolts are tightened.
sure hand grips are secure.
should not have cracks on the sidewalls, cuts in the tread or excessive wear.
To prevent excessive wear, use the proper tire pressure (printed on the
sidewall of the tire).
caliper brake pads for wear and proper adjustment.
sure gear and brake cables move freely. Replace rusted or frayed cables.
chain should be free of rust. Do not put too much oil on the chain, however,
since it will attract dust and dirt and shorten the life of the chain.
should be securely fastened and pedal reflectors clean and visible.
your bicycle takes only a few minutes and may prevent an accident or mechanical
breakdown. If you are uncertain about the condition of your bicycle, visit a
local bike shop. Most shops offer free safety inspections and books on
lock your bicycle when it is parked. Register your bicycle with your local
police department, if possible, and be sure to keep your bike's serial number
in a safe place.
long distances can be a healthy and adventuresome pastime. Many highways are
not safe for bicyclists, so begin by selecting a route with a good road surface
and an adequate shoulder. When choosing a route, avoid hills and look for
places to eat and stay at night.
you will need includes a helmet, appropriate clothing for the weather, food,
repair tools, spare parts, camping gear and other items for comfort and safety.
Panniers bags that attach to your bicycle can be used to carry
some of these items.
bicycling with others, ride single file in groups of four to six. Groups should
ride from ¼ to ½ mile apart. Always ride at least two bicycle lengths
from other vehicles. The distance between bicycles and vehicles should be
increased to 10 bicycle lengths when going downhill.
to work by bicycle is convenient for many people but, since it is usually done
during peak traffic hours, bicycle commuters need to keep some important safety
considerations in mind.
selecting a route, consider traffic conditions, ease of the route and whether
bike paths are available. Riding the same route every day will allow you to
adjust to traffic conditions and will help motorists adjust to seeing you at
about the same place every day.
sure to have the appropriate equipment, including a helmet, bright clothing,
rain gear, spare parts and tools.
leaving home, be sure your boat is properly secured on the trailer. Inspect all
the lines and tie-downs, as well as the winch. Tighten these as necessary and
replace any that show signs of fraying or strand separation.
the trailer lights work, and test the braking system. Inspect the hitch and
safety chain. Check the tire pressure and lug bolts. Tilt and secure the boat's
motor to increase its clearance to the road.
carefully, allowing for the extra length of the car and trailer when
negotiating turns and passing other vehicles. Allow more time to stop, and pay
special attention to speed limits.
the road periodically and walk completely around the trailer. Examine the tires
and wheel bearings for overheating, test the tie-downs and check any equipment
carried in the boat.
Operating a Boat
following before putting your boat in the water:
- life jackets
- backfire flame arrester
- sound-producing device
- visual distress signals
- anchor with line
- manual pump or bailer
- fire extinguisher
- adequate ventilation
- navigation lights
- fuel level
- paddle or oar
- vessel numbering
Be sure to
check weather and water forecasts. And make sure you have sufficient fuel. (The
"one-third rule" of fuel management is a good one to follow:
one-third of the fuel to go out, one-third to get back and one-third for
reserve.) Check your boat's capacity plate and do not take more passengers than
it recommends. Finally, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when
you will return.
have your boat in the water, follow these safety rules:
operate your boat carelessly or recklessly. This means operating your boat at a
speed and in such manner that you do not endanger the life, safety or property
of those in other watercraft.
are approaching another boat "head on" (or nearly so), each boat must
bear to the right and pass the other on its left side.
boats approach each other at right angles, the boat approaching on the right
side has the right- of-way.
may overtake another on either side but must grant the right-of-way to the
motorboat must yield the right-of-way to a boat propelled solely by sails or
oars (An exception is when a large motorized craft is navigating in a confined
channel; it then has the right-of-way over a sailboat or rowboat).
operate a motorboat in any area marked by signs or buoys as a restricted area.
areas designated as "No Wake" areas, do not exceed 5 miles per hour.
Do not exceed this speed when within 150 feet of a public launching ramp, even
if the area is not posted.
towing a person on water skis, aquaplane or similar device, at least two
competent persons must be in the boat. (It is unlawful to water ski from
one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour prior to sunrise.)
operate any watercraft within 150 feet of a diving flag unless directly
associated with the diving activity.
Personal watercraft and specialty prop craft cannot be operated
between sunset and sunrise.
operate a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug
that impairs your ability to safely operate the craft. National Transportation
Safety Board data indicate that the number of deaths due to recreational
boating each year is second only to highway deaths. Approximately half of all
boating accidents involve alcohol.
impairs a person's ability to operate a boat. And the boat's motion can
actually increase alcohol's effects on the following:
Judgment Alcohol tends to make people think they
perform better. However, the ability to make decisions quickly, particularly in
high-risk situations, is one of the first skills impaired. And for decisions
such as avoiding swimmers or objects in the water, the wrong choice can be
Vision Eyes transmit visual images of surroundings to
the brain. Alcohol causes tunnel vision, blurs sight and increases eye
fixations, causing incorrect information to be sent to the brain. This can
cause boating accidents.
Balance An attack of dizziness or a misstep can lead to
disaster. Most boating accidents occur when someone falls out of a boat or a
Body Temperature Alcohol gives a false sense of warmth.
In reality, it causes the body to lose heat.
safety belts are to motor vehicles, personal flotation devices (PFDs), or life
jackets, are to boats simple devices that prevent serious injury or
death. In Illinois, state law prohibits a person from operating a watercraft
unless a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard is on board for each
than 80 percent of the nearly 900 boating deaths that occur in the United
States each year, there are insufficient or inaccessible life jackets on board.
Falling overboard is a frightening experience that causes many people to panic
some to the point of drowning. Wearing a life jacket can save your
U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are lightweight and comfortable. There
are five basic types:
and II PFDs will turn an unconscious person in the water from a face downward
position to a vertical or slightly backward position.
III PFDs will keep a conscious person in a vertical or slightly backward
position. While a Type III PFD will not turn an unconscious person to a face-up
position, it will maintain a person in this position once the person assumes
IV PFDs are not designed to be worn but to be thrown to a person in the water.
PFDs are approved for restricted use.
winds, rough water and thunderstorms can quickly turn a pleasant day of boating
into a struggle to stay afloat. The best course is to simply avoid boating in
adverse weather. So, before going out, check the weather forecast. The National
Weather Service issues marine forecasts, including weather, winds, seas and
visibility, every six hours.
weather warnings are in effect, determine whether you can navigate your boat
safely. Have the proper equipment aboard to avoid becoming stranded a
sturdy anchor and appropriate length of line, paddle or oars in case of engine
failure or torn sails, and visual distress signals.
prediction is not an exact science. It is important to regularly check the
horizon for changes in wind, waves, water and sky. Dark threatening clouds or
any steady increase in wind or waves indicate the possibility of a
determine how far away (in miles) an approaching thunderstorm is by counting
the seconds between the lightning flash and the thunder and dividing by five.
For example, if it takes 10 seconds to hear the thunder, the storm is about 2
information about boating may be obtained from the Illinois Department of
Natural Resources (DNR). Questions about boating regulations or boating safety
should be addressed to DNR's law enforcement division, 217-782-6431.
skiing is one of America's favorite water sports. To be safe, remember these
wear a life jacket.
Someone other than the driver should act as a spotter. The driver
should watch the waterway, not the skier.
check the tow line before each person skis.
Maintain a reasonable, safe speed at all times and be alert for other
boats and watercraft.
Personal Watercraft (Jet
increasing popularity of personal watercraft jet skis, water scooters,
wet cycles, etc. has resulted in a higher number of waterway accidents.
These watercraft are not more dangerous than other types of watercraft, but
careless operation and lack of common courtesy can cause many problems.
law, a personal watercraft is considered a motorboat. That means it must be
registered, and the operator must abide by all the "rules of the
water" that fishing boats, ski boats, cruisers and other boats must
follow. This includes carrying the same safety equipment (a fire extinguisher,
for example). Illinois law requires that each person aboard a personal
watercraft or specialty pro-craft wear an approved life jacket. Although simple
to operate, personal watercraft are not toys.
Persons at least 10 years of age and less than 12 years of age may operate a personal watercraft (or motorboat) if they are accompanied and under the direct control of a parent or guardian or a person at least 18 years of age designated by a parent or guardian. Persons age 12 to 17 may operate a personal watercraft (or motorboat) if they are accompanied and under the direct control of a parent or guardian or a person at least 18 years of age designated by a parent or guardian, or the operator is in the possession of a Boating Safety Certificate issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Law Enforcement.
following safety tips in mind when operating personal watercraft:
boating safety course. Many dealers who sell personal watercraft participate in
education programs. If your dealer does not, check with the Illinois Department
of Natural Resources at 800-832-2599.
the owner's manual carefully so you understand the controls and
proper safety equipment. Besides a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, wear
eye protection to keep water spray from obscuring your vision. Tennis or deck
shoes offer the best control on your machine, and gloves and a wet suit offer
protection from the elements. Attach a whistle to the zipper of your life
jacket in case you need to summon help.
operate personal watercraft without the safety cord attached to you. The cord
will automatically shut off the engine in the event you fall from the
out for boats and, especially, other personal watercraft. Collisions are the
most common type of personal watercraft accident.
Respect the rights of others. That includes not following other boats
too closely or jumping another boat's wake, a dangerous practice. Stay away
from anglers and canoeists.
the water in which you are operating so you can avoid weeds, rocks and
out of swimming areas and away from wildlife.
operate a personal watercraft at night.
operate a personal watercraft after consuming alcohol or other drugs.