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Summer safety 101 from the Red Cross

Nearly 20 children came to the Pickens County Library last Tuesday, June 14 to hear Northeast Georgia Chapter Director of Community Services Andy Thompson give valuable summer safety tips.



From poison ivy to snake bites, children who attended the Red Cross library safety day were schooled on summer tips to keep them safe when the weather gets hot.

Local Red Cross Director Andy Thompson’s presentation focused on basic summer safety tips and inspired numerous questions and comments from children in attendance Tuesday at the Pickens library.

For the parents, Thompson offered to give presentations on this and other Red Cross awareness efforts at no charge.

He also noted that the local  Red Cross will be hosting a popular eight-hour babysitting course in August for 11-14 year olds.


Here’s what Thompson suggested kids (and parents) be aware of this summer:

Heat waves

•Wear protective sunscreen. When outdoors, babies should always wear high SPF, 50 or above. Light skinned people are more susceptible to burning than dark skinned people, but kids should wear an SPF of 15, 30 or even 50 depending on skin tone.

•It’s easy to overheat in the summer months. Drink plenty of water to keep from getting dehydrated.

• Never leave pets or children alone in enclosed vehicles during the summer. Cars can reach 130 degrees in a matter of minutes if they are turned off and the windows are rolled up.

Poison Ivy

•The oil that comes off the poison ivy leaf can stay active for up to a year if it rubs off on clothing or other fabrics if they are not washed.

•Dogs and cats are immune to poison ivy, but can pick up oil on their skin and transmit it to you and your family. If your pet goes outside be sure to wipe its coat off with a towel and wash the towel.

*Thompson recommends Tecnu and Ivy Dry as treatment for a poison ivy rash.


•Give kids swimming lessons as early as possible. Thompson said it is better to give lessons earlier, as early as 18 months. He said children are more successful with earlier swimming lessons because they have not developed a fear of water.

•If someone is drowning and they need help, throw in a flotation device the person can grab onto. If you jump in to save a drowning person they may pull you under as well. Thompson said many people drown this way each year.

•Lakes, rivers and ponds are much more dangerous than pools. Never dive in a lake, river or pond as they may have trees, limbs or rock on the bottom that are not visible from the surface.

•Always wear a life jacket if you are in a boat.

•Never swim between the ladder and wall in a pool and never stick your hand in pool drains. This causes several drownings each year.


• Summer thunderstorms can produce lots of cloud-to-ground lightning.

•In a thunderstorm never stand under a tree or get inside a tent. Lightning will hit the highest point in the area.

• Go inside during a thunderstorm. If you are in a pool, get out immediately.


• You can determine whether a snake is poisonous by looking at the shape of its head. Round-headed snakes are non-poisonous. Diamond-headed snakes are poisonous. Any snake that is brown in color should be considered poisonous.

Bee stings

•Yellow jackets are attracted to sweet smells. Be aware of this if you are eating fruit or drinking sweet beverages outdoors.

•Unlike many bees, yellow jackets live in the ground.

•Anyone with bee allergies should carry an EpiPen with them at all times.

Thompson’s office is located at 1266 E. Church Street, Jasper, Ga. 30143.

He can be reached at 706-253-7333 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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