I know this is no way to start off a humor column, but summer safety is no laughing matter. Children in particular are known to be very good at finding new and inventive ways to hurt themselves. If you are responsible for any children, or have someone sitting next to you who is responsible for some children but is for some reason weeping into her hands, you need to make sure that you are always aware of the basic rules of safety. This safety quiz will test your knowledge:
- As a parent, which of these dangers are you most worried about when it comes to your children?
- Strangers with candy.
- Strangers with non-kosher candy.
- Metal slides on hot days.
- Babies eating grass.
- Complete the following statement. “Bike helmets…
- Should be worn whenever you ride a bike, and possibly even when you’re working on the roof of your garage.”
- Make you look like a giant mushroom.”
- Should really be made to cover the entire head, like a motorcycle helmet, except that if they did, parents would not be able to recognize their children when it’s time for dinner.”
- Are a good alternative to yarmulkes, because of the chin straps.”
- Before your kids leave the house, you make sure they are wearing…
- A layer of suntan lotion deep enough to conceal a set of keys.
- Bright colors, because dark colors absorb sunlight (with the exception, somehow, of sunglasses).
- Dark colors, because bright colors attract bugs.
- Stripes, like a zebra. Let’s see what happens.
- If your children are going to be riding their bikes on the street, what steps do you take to make sure they are safe?
- You make sure that they know the proper hand signals, despite the fact that most of the drivers out there have no idea what they mean
- Let them do what they want, so long as they don’t talk on their cell phones while they are riding.
- Get them a set of blinkers, bearing in mind that since they’re driving skinny little bikes, a lot of the motorists are going to have trouble figuring out whether the flashing light is their left blinker or their right one.
- I get out there in my vest and direct traffic.
- When driving around town during the summer, you…
- Count your kids every time you get into or out of the car.
- Put on oven mitts before touching the steering wheel.
- Avoid leather seats.
- Brush up on your hand signals.
- How do you keep your kids from running into the street?
- Give them a long speech featuring lots of color slides, and occasionally let them read horror stories in the newspaper.
- Don’t coat them in sun block. Kids are slippery enough as it is.
- Keep them in the house until they are bouncing off the walls and having water fights with that hose that pulls out of your kitchen sink.
- Move to a meadow.
- Poison ivy has…
- Three leaves.
- Four leaves.
- Six hundred thirteen leaves.
- I don’t know. I live in Brooklyn.
- What precautions do you take before going on family trips?
- I make sure each of my kids can recite his name, address, and telephone number, and if my child has a name that is hard for the general public to pronounce, I make sure he knows how to spell it.
- I stock up on barbecue corn chips.
- I put distinctive matching outfits on all of my children, as well as on my husband.
- I leave the kids at home with my in-laws. That way I know where both of them are.
- The best answer to all of these questions is:
- None of the above.
- All of the above, except D.
- While you’ve been working on this quiz, your child:
- Ate something with three leaves.
- Drank all of the sun block.
- Schlepped his bike up to the top of a slide.
- Moved to a meadow.
It’s not easy, keeping your kids safe. The clothes that drive away the sun attract bees. Sun block makes your kids slippery. And hand signals seem useless when no one you are signaling knows what you’re trying to tell them. But if there is one thing that you can take logical steps to avoid, it is heat exhaustion.
Everyone has their safety topic that they are especially paranoid about, and mine is heat exhaustion. I am the guy who always runs into the middle of the dancing circle at a wedding with a glass of water for the groom, usually spilling some of it on at least six people, although it’s not a big deal, because it’s just water. Except for when it’s Coke.
Children, in particular, are more susceptible to heat exhaustion, because they are smaller. Think of how long it takes to bake cookies, as opposed to how long it takes to bake a cake. Plus, kids don’t always notice when they’re dehydrating, just like kids never notice when they’re tired. They just think that, after a certain time of night, the world gets funnier, then it gets meaner, and then it gets chillier.
The best way to combat heat exhaustion, of course, is to keep drinking. You can drink while you’re working, or playing, or walking, or leaning left. You can even drink and drive, for all I care. But bear in mind that alcohol makes you sweat more, so you should definitely stick to water. Especially if you’re going to be outside. For instance, if you’re planning on spending an entire day in an amusement park, make sure that at least one person in your party is lugging around what is essentially an entire knapsack filled with water.
Anyway, that's all the safety tips we have for now. You don't want to be too safe.