Every year, summer just seems to go by faster and faster, and as we enter Labor Day weekend – the unofficial end of summer – it’s going to be a scramble to get in one last round of summertime activities before fall sets in. From camping to boating to cookouts and more, it looks like Southeast Wisconsin is in for some perfect weather for outdoor fun this weekend – but before you scamper outside, make sure summer is ended on a positive note by following these Labor Day weekend safety tips after the jump.
Before you hit the road, be aware that the roads will probably be more congested during the holiday weekend. To avoid more traveling headaches, do a quick check on your car to make sure everything is operating properly. Make sure your coolant, oil and power steering levels are sufficient for the long drive. You’ll also want to make sure the tire pressure is sufficient. And – this should go without saying – if you’re planning on driving somewhere where you’ll be drinking alcoholic beverages, make sure you have a sober, designated driver. Don’t ruin your or anyone else’s Labor Day weekend by driving while intoxicated.
A major concern when swimming outside for an extended period of time is sun safety. Make sure you and your children slather on sunscreen half an hour before being exposed to the sun, and reapply frequently throughout the day. If you’re taking your children to the pool, make sure they shower before getting in the water to avoid spreading germs, and take them on bathroom breaks frequently.
If you’re camping, hiking or doing anything in the great outdoors away from civilization, don’t go without a first-aid kit. Make sure it’s stocked with bandages, anti-bacterial spray and ointments for bug bites and scrapes. Also, know your limits when it comes to any activity that could be potentially dangerous: don’t be reckless on jet skis, speed boats, bicycles or even outdoor trampolines. Have fun, but be cautious. And remember, drinking alcohol impairs your judgment – so don’t attempt any stunts if intoxicated.
If you’re heading to someone else’s cookout, make sure the food you’re bringing is safe for everyone. Transport it in a cooler that’s not in the trunk, but in the air-conditioned backseat of the car. Keep drinks in a separate cooler, since it will most likely be opened more often than the food, thus making the ice inside more prone to melting.
Never partially cook raw meats. Either cook it fully at home and keep it warm by wrapping in aluminum foil, or leave it raw and safely transport to the cookout to be grilled. When grilling out, never place cooked meat back on the same tray where raw meat was once resting – place on a new, clean tray or plate. And never reuse marinades that had once come in contact with raw meat – that’s a surefire way to spread bacteria.
And to reiterate an aforementioned point – if you’re drinking at the cookout, or anywhere over the weekend, do not drive home. Enlist a sober driver, call a cab, take the bus – anything to get you home safely to cap off a fun-filled and safe Labor Day weekend.