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  » Preventive Medicine  »  Preventing Recreational Injuries

Why should I be concerned about recreational injuries?

While recreational activities are meant to be fun, they can also be dangerous. Accidental injuries are the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. About 90% of recreation-related deaths occur when swimming, boating, bicycling, riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), or using firearms.

What can I do to prevent recreational injuries?

To protect yourself and your children, follow the safety tips listed below. In addition, never mix alcohol with any of these activities.

Swimming
  • Everyone, young and old, should learn how to swim. Most towns offer swimming classes for both children and adults.

  • Swim with a "buddy," and never let children swim without adult supervision.

  • If you have a pool, surround it with an isolation fence with self-latching, self-closing gates.

  • Do not go swimming if a storm is coming (especially a lightening storm).

Boating
  • Know and obey the rules when operating a boat. Consider taking a boat-safety course.

  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. A boat should have as many life jackets as there are passengers.

  • Do not boat in dangerous weather conditions.

Biking
  • Children and adults should always wear biking helmets to avoid head injuries. Choose a helmet that is "ANSI" or "Snell" approved.

  • If you must ride around motor vehicles, always ride with the traffic (on the right hand side of the street). It's the law.

  • Obey all traffic signs and use hand signals when turning. Always look both ways before crossing a street and walk your bike across busy streets.

  • Avoid night-time riding. If you must bike at night, use lights and reflectors and wear light colored clothing with reflective tape.

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
  • All ATV passengers should wear helmets.

  • Pay attention to all safety warnings, and never carry more than the recommended number of passengers.

  • Do not drive three-wheeled ATVs.

Firearms
  • If you must have a firearm in your home, keep it unloaded and in a locked cabinet separate from the ammunition.

  • Learn about the safe use of firearms (like how to carry a firearm) before hunting.

  • Wear fluorescent orange clothing to increase your visibility while hunting.