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Just remember that safety and fun can and should go hand in hand. Keeping a few simple safety tips in mind will ensure that the season remains happy and carefree for you and your family.

Protect babies from the sun, especially those under 6 months old. Avoid sun exposure, or dress them in hats with brims and lightweight, full-length clothing. It is generally not recommended that babies under 6 months wear sun block. But if it becomes necessary, use a small amount on areas such as the face and backs of the hands.

Fun in the Sun

When it's time for fun in the sun, remember to play it safe. Too much sun can lead to serious health problems, such as melanoma and cataracts. Just be sure to take the right precautions and you can enjoy summer fun—now and into the future.

  • The sun is strongest between 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., so plan to spend at least part of that time indoors or in the shade.
  • Remember to apply sunscreen 30 to 45 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, especially if you've been in the water or if you've been perspiring.
  • Slather on a thick coating of water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
  • Use sunscreen even when you think it's not necessary, such as on cloudy days, late in the day, and in the spring or early summer. Be aware that ultraviolet (UV) radiation can go through clouds, light clothing, windshields, and windows.
  • If you have sensitive skin use a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, both of which block UV radiation.
  • Cover up with loose fitting, full-length clothing. You can still get sun damage while fully covered because most clothing has an SPF of only 5 to 9. Cotton clothing with a tight weave can provide more protection.
  • Wear a hat with at least a three-inch brim.
  • Wear sunglasses all day. Look for a label saying the sunglasses give 99 to 100 percent UV protection. Choose sunglasses that wrap all the way around the temples. If you wear UV-absorbing contact lenses, you should still wear sunglasses.


Cool Ways to

Beat the Heat

High temperatures increase the risks of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. To stay cool and safe this summer, just follow these tips.

  • Wear light-colored clothing to keep cool—dark colors absorb the sun's heat.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Keep drinking water or juice, even if you don't feel like it. Don't drink alcohol and caffeine; they dehydrate the body. (If you do, be sure to drink plenty of water too.)  And remember to drink water or sports drinks before, during, and after exercising.
  • Stay cool by spending time in air-conditioned places, like a mall or library. 
  • Limit physical exertion to early mornings and evenings.
  • Decrease levels of physical exertion.
  • Never leave children in hot cars! Temperatures inside cars can rise dramatically, causing heat stroke—or even death —within a very short time.
  • Electrical blackouts often occur during extremely hot weather.  Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries close by. Please remember that candles are a serious fire hazard.
  • Check on your elderly or infirm neighbors to see if they need help.
  • Call 911 if you see someone with signs of heatstroke. What to look for: high temperature, vomiting, unconsciousness or semi-consciousness, fast and weak pulse, rapid and shallow breathing, and damp skin or red, hot, and dry skin. Heatstroke can be fatal, so it's important to get immediate medical attention.
  • Here's how to help someone with heat stroke: After calling 911, lay the person down in a cool place. Raise the legs. Lower the temperature with water and wet towels or sheets. Put ice packs wrapped in towels on the neck, wrists, ankles, and armpits to lower the temperature of the large blood vessels.

Water, Water


From the city's public swimming pools to the inflatable backyard ones, summertime means beating the heat by taking a cool, refreshing dunk! But remember, even in shallow water, safety is key—especially for kids.

  • Learn to swim.
  • Teach kids to swim. Experts say that once kids reach age 4, they're ready to learn how.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Supervise kids. Make sure children are always supervised in and around the pool, no matter how shallow the water is.
  • Stay within arm's length of kids under 4 years old—even if they're in an inflatable wading pool. Staying close can save a child's life.
  • Make sure pool covers are completely off—kids can get trapped under covers.
  • Go in feet first. Dive only in places that are marked for diving. Because aboveground pools are shallow, always go in feet first. Never dive from the side of an in-ground pool or from the sides of a diving board.
  • Make sure safety equipment is by the pool, such as life preservers, life jackets, a shepherd's crook, a pole, and a rope.
  • Keep a phone nearby for calling 911, if necessary.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Learn more at "Ways You and Your Loved Ones Can Be Safe in Water." 

The Stop, Drop, and Roll is a technique that could save your life. Here's a review of these easy-to-learn steps:
Stop. If your clothing has caught fire, stop where you are. Don't run.
Drop. Drop to the ground and lie flat.
Roll. First, cover your face and mouth. Then roll on the ground until the fire is out.
Save A Life
You can help save a life by telling someone to Stop, Drop, and Roll if his or her clothes are on fire. Throw a blanket, towel, or coat on the person to smother the flames.

Fireworks Safety

It is illegal to use fireworks in Massachusetts, but you can always watch the display over the Charles River to the tunes of the Boston Pops. If you're vacationing in a state where fireworks are legal, and you want to use them, then follow these safety tips.

  • Use fireworks outdoors, not indoors. Don't light them near dry grass.
  • Think ahead. When using fireworks, have a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby. Before using fireworks, learn how to operate the fire extinguisher.
  • Don't wear loose clothing when using fireworks.
  • If your clothing catches fire, cover your face and stop, drop, and roll. Call 911 if a burn needs serious medical attention.
  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If one doesn't go off, don't examine it. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, stand back, extinguish it with water, and throw it away.
  • Read directions and warning labels on fireworks. If one doesn't include directions and a warning label, don't light it.

Before lighting sparklers this Fourth of July, be aware that all fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth is one of five states in the country that prohibit the use of any fireworks, which include firecrackers, cherry bombs, silver salutes, M-80s, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles, sparklers, rockets, wheels, colored fires, fountains, mines, and serpents. Massachusetts adopted these stringent laws because of the injuries that fireworks can cause. So leave the fireworks to licensed professionals and stay safe on the Fourth.

Safe, Savory Barbecues

Grilling burgers, hotdogs, and vegetables makes for savory summer fun. To keep your cookouts safe, follow these tips.

  • Prevent fires and explosions. Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the tubes where the air and gas mix are not blocked.
  • Don't overfill the propane tank. Overfilling can cause an explosion.
  • Clear 10 feet around the grill. Don't grill near trees or branches. Rake leaves, twigs, and anything else that may be flammable to make a clear area around the grill.
  • Grill outside. Grilling can produce carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas, so never grill in enclosed areas.
  • Be careful with lighter fluid. Don't add lighter fluid to an already lit fire. This can cause an explosion.
  • Don't wear loose clothing while grilling.
  • If your clothing catches fire, cover your face and stop, drop, and roll. Call 911 if a burn needs serious medical attention.
  • Pour plenty of water over hot coals, and stir the coals to ensure the fire is out. Never place hot coals in plastic, paper, or wooden containers.

Gather Round the Campfire

Before singing “Kumbaya” and roasting marshmallows, read these guidelines for campfire safety.

  • Don't build campfires near flammable materials, such as dry grass and leaves. Build campfires where they will not spread.
  • Keep campfires small.
  • Never leave them unattended.
  • Keep a shovel and plenty of water around the campfire. When you are finished with the fire, douse it with water, stir it, and douse it again.
Updated: June 21, 2021


Cambridge Public Health Department
119 Windsor Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-665-3800 (main)
617-665-3888 (fax)
617-643-0744 (TTY)

Hours: Monday-Friday:
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Derrick Neal
Chief Public Health Officer



Cambirdge Health Alliance

Cambridge City
City of Cambridge