Summer was making itself known on Thursday at the Wantagh Park pool. By midmorning, families were already cooling off there as the sun beat down and temperatures were expected to near 90 degrees.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was there to remind residents that summer weather and activities also come with potential hazards and to launch a countywide summer safety campaign to try to mitigate them.
“In Nassau we all know we have so many options to go outside and have fun,” Curran said. “We want to urge everyone to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe summer.”
Curran discussed the details of the new safety initiative, called the "Child Safe Summer Campaign," at a news conference with Nassau County Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein, surrounded by Wantagh Park pool lifeguards and other county officials.
“Most accidents are avoidable,” she said. “We can help our families avoid the potential dangers of drowning, of keeping your kids and pets in the car, of getting skin cancer.”
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, 4,126 New Yorkers were diagnosed with melanoma of the skin in 2016.
“Use sunblock, and use it correctly,” Curran said.
The program provides families with links to helpful information from a page on Nassau County’s website. The message will also be reinforced through multimedia and social media campaigns as well as public service announcements reminding county residents how to safely enjoy the summer.
“I’m going to try not to sound like your mother,” Curran said to preface the warnings. “But, I’m going to sound like your mother.”
Links on the website take users to various other sites, including the Centers for Disease Control and the New York Department of Health, which has pool, sun, heat and bike safety tips. There are also categories for avoiding infection through insect bites and about the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars.
Curran was joined by Ryan Reyes, lieutenant lifeguard at Wantagh Park pool, and Dr. Hylton Lightman, president and medical director of Total Family Care of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, who emphasized several safety points.
“Sunscreen is, I would say, one of the top three most important things,” Reyes said.
Lightman also spoke about the dangers of leaving children behind in hot cars and how, more often than not, this occurs as an accident.
He suggested parents place an important item like a phone, wallet or even a shoe in the back seat of the car so they are forced to check the back before leaving the car unattended.
“We have to remember to remember,” Lightman said.