OUTDOORS Stay Safe This Summer
REMEMBER THE RATTLESNAKE RULES Of all the common critters you’d expect to see while spending time outside, few are as frightening as the rattlesnake. Venomous rattlers can be found just about everywhere in San Diego. These slithery serpents do wonders for the environment by controlling rodent populations, but they ’re a hazard to hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Protect your family members (both two- and four-legged) with these tips from the county Department of Animal Services. You’ll often hear a rattlesnake before you see it, but not always. Not that you’d want to get that close, but rattlesnakes are also distinguishable by their wide, triangle-shaped head and thinner neck. Non-venomous snakes’ heads are about the same width as their bodies. Many species of rattlesnake also have diamond, chevron or blotchy markings on their backs or sides. Rattlesnakes are cold-blooded and like to sun themselves in mild weather. During the hottest parts of the day, they ’ ll be hiding out underground, under rocks, in the brush or in the shade. Stay on marked trails and avoid tall grass, weeds and brush where snakes may be hiding, and check for snakes before picking up rocks or wood. Don’t startle a snake. If you hear one, stand still until you’ve spotted it, then walk away slowly. If the rattler gets spooked, it will strike. Wear protective hiking boots and consider carrying a walking stick. A rattlesnake could go for the stick instead of you, your child or your pet.
Tips to avoid preventable summer accidents, heat illness and more
WHEN IT COMES TO SPENDING TIME IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS, the benefits are many. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids and teens who regularly enjoy nature are less stressed, have better impulse control, are more engaged in learning and are physically healthier. With beaches, bays and mountains all within a short drive, San Diego kids have an abundance of options for outdoor recreation. However, none of them come without risks. “We’re pretty well aware of social distancing, but we forget that there are other things we have to do to avoid injuries,” says Lorrie Lynn, manager of Injury Prevention Programs at Rady Children’s Center for Healthier Communities. Water safety is among the biggest concerns, since the county’s 70 miles of coastline consistently draw visitors all summer long. When at the beach, be sure to always swim near a lifeguard station and assign an adult to watch the children at all times. Also, enter the water with
8 HEALTHY KIDS MAGAZINE SUMMER 2021
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