- Plan Ahead and Drive Carefully. Pick a destination well before you’re ready to head out, and do your homework on possible hazards like bluffs, strong currents or high-traffic regions. Try to avoid peak holiday travel times and check the Missouri Department of Transportation’s road map. It’s also important to understand your medical insurance before you leave home. Once you hit the road, make sure everyone is buckled up; seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives in 2012.
- Pack the First Aid Kit. It’s important to have supplies such as bandages and creams for minor bumps and bruises. The Red Cross has a list of what should be in your kit, or you can buy prepackaged kits at any camping store. Don’t forget to include any regular medications. “We do see a lot of patients who’ve forgotten medications,” Coleman added. “We’ll work with pharmacies to get those replaced, but pharmacies in Branson close early on weekends and holidays, so be sure to see us early in the day.”
- CPR and ICE. A CPR class will give you tremendous peace of mind. Hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training. As a backup, have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact created on your phone so medical personnel can quickly find your next of kin if you’ve had an accident and are unable to communicate.
- Avoid Heatstroke. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after outdoor activities. Bring everyone a water bottle and make sure they have it full and with them all the time. Remember to wear sunscreen and visors, in addition to loose fitting and lightweight clothing, and stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day. Also, be careful not to leave children behind in a hot vehicle; dial 911 if you see it happening to someone else’s child. One call could save a life.
- Swim Safely. Be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents and changing weather. Also, never dive in water bodies because you never know how deep the water is or what might be hidden under the surface. Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming; children under the age of 7 are required to wear lifejackets when they’re on a boat unless they’re in the cabin area of a house boat or cruiser.
- Get a Safety Check. Boaters can get a free, yearly check-up by the U.S. Coast Guard. While on board, make sure there’s a working carbon monoxide alarm to alert your family to any buildup of toxic fumes from the engine. If you’re driving, swing the vehicle by an auto body shop to make sure tires, wipers and other functions work properly. No matter when you’re traveling, make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed. Safe Kids Springfield has a list of certified technicians by county.
Mercy Springfield Communities is comprised of Mercy Hospital Springfield, an 914-bed referral center; five regional hospitals in Lebanon, Aurora, Cassville, Mountain View, and Berryville, Ark.; Mercy Clinic, a 500-plus physician clinic with 70 locations throughout the region. It is part of Mercy, the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves millions annually. Mercy includes 33 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, three rehab hospitals and one orthopedic hospital, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.