Before he ventured into the yard last weekend, Toby Careful went online to gather expert safety advice. Then he followed every last bit of it. Here's what he did:
1. Apply bug spray. "Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. . . . The risk of tick attachment can also be reduced by applying insect repellents containing DEET. " (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- CDC)
2. Apply sunscreen, lip balm. "[G]enerously apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going outside. About one ounce of sunscreen should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck and face. . . . Use lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher." (American Cancer Society -- ACS)
3. Dress to protect. "Wearing long-sleeved shirts and tucking pants into socks or boot tops may help keep ticks from reaching your skin." (CDC) "Long-sleeved shirts, long pants or long skirts are the most protective [against potentially cancer-causing sunlight]. Dark colors provide more protection than light colors by preventing more UV rays from reaching your skin." (ACS)
4. Use UV safety goggles. "Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block . . . 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation" (ACS). "Wear safety glasses to protect eyes." (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)
5. Wear high, steel-toe boots. Those working outdoors "[should] wear pants, steel-toed boots and goggles." (University of Michigan Health System) "Ticks are usually located close to the ground, so wearing high rubber boots may provide additional protection." (CDC)
6. Apply hat, ear protection. "A hat with at least a three- to four-inch brim all around is ideal because it protects areas often exposed to the sun, such as the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp." (ACS) "Wear hearing protection such as special earmuffs to prevent potentially damaging sounds from reaching your ears without eliminating the sounds you'll need to hear." (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute)
7. Don't forget to grab gloves, water bottle. "Heavy gloves can be worn when operating a walk-behind mower. Gloves increase the operator's grip and absorb a portion of the engine vibration." (Ohio State University Extension) "Drink plenty of water before starting an outdoor activity. Drink extra water all day." (American Academy of Family Physicians)
-- Reporting by Jennifer Huget
For even more information on summer safety, visit the Web sites for the CDC (www.cdc.gov) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org).
Next time: Toby prepares for a new baby!