Summer Safety 2020

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on June 23, 2020 # COVID-19

The 2020 summer season has arrived and staying safe is more complicated than usual. We’ve gathered our safety advice for the season and threaded it with COVID-19 tips, too. Common sense and science can help ensure everyone enjoys a healthy, happy summer.


As pools and beaches reopen, the risk of drowning accidents and diving injuries rise. Take time to understand the dangers that exist around water and practice these habits to stay safe.

  • Never dive in unfamiliar water; hidden objects in lakes, rivers and oceans can cause injury.
  • Never dive in water less than nine feet deep.
  • Never dive headfirst into waves.
  • Never drink alcohol while swimming.
  • Always wear life jackets while boating.
  • Never leave children unattended near water.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Pay attention to safety signs warning of dangerous conditions. If caught in a rough current, don’t fight against it. Swim parallel to shore and try to signal for help.
  • Improve swim skills with lessons and get trained in CPR.

IN THE HEATsummer heat- thermometer

Extreme heat is a risk for everyone, but especially for children under age 4, adults over 65 and those living with pre-existing health conditions, including paralysis. As temperatures rise, extra caution is needed.

  • Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water and keep alcohol to a minimum to prevent dehydration.
  • Pay attention to sweat: Replace lost fluids with sports drinks or fruit juice. For those living with spinal cord injuries, limit time outside on hot days.
  • Stay cool: If your home doesn’t have air-conditioning, seek out public spaces like libraries, local community centers and big box stores for relief. Remember to wear masks, maintain social distance and wash and sanitize hands frequently while out.
  • Consider your clothing: Dark colors absorb heat, so chose light colors and breathable fabrics like cotton, linen or jersey. Hats, sunglasses and long sleeves can help block the heat and avoid harmful UV rays.
  • Keep your eye on the clock: The Centers for Disease Control recommends staying out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are at their highest levels.
  • Lather up: Sunburns can occur in as little as 15 minutes. Always wear sunscreen when outdoors, even under gray skies.


With fewer people flying due to COVID-19, cars may provide some vacationers with the means of a quick, local getaway. But remember, safety is critical: Car and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.

  • Never drink and drive
  • Stay off the phone: Calls and texts can wait. Keep phones in the glove box while driving to avoid temptation.
  • Buckle up: Using seatbelts correctly helps reduce the risk of death by 45% and the risk of injury by 50%. Young children need appropriate seats for age and size, while those under 13 are safest buckled up in the back seat. Adults should position seatbelts with bottom strap across hips and shoulder strap across the chest.


  • Biking can be a great way for families to socially distance while seeing friends this summer. Remember, kids and adults should wear properly fitting helmets anytime they ride. Replace them at the first sign of cracks.
  • Playgrounds provide much needed fun for children; parents should carry hand sanitizer for frequent reapplication and wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible. Follow playground rules and make sure children use age appropriate equipment to help avoid injuries, including concussions.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.