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Enjoy a safe summer

(May 24, 2012) —Summer is a busy time when most people are "on the go." It's also a prime time for drownings, grill fires and home burglaries. Keep yourself and your family safe this summer by following these tips.

Dive into poolside precaution

  • Never let children into your pool without an adult present. Even teenagers who are strong swimmers should always have a companion.
  • Never leave children alone in the pool area, even for just a few seconds to answer the phone or check the stove.
  • Keep rescue equipment such as a shepherds hook or life preserver at poolside. Also bring a portable telephone along when people are in the water.
  • Remove all toys from the pool after swimming so children arent tempted to reach for them and possibly fall in. Don't allow tricycles or wagons at poolside.
  • Prevent young children from climbing up into an above-ground pool, even when it's covered, by securing, locking or removing the steps or ladder.
  • Check the applicable laws and ordinances in your area regarding fencing requirements for pools.
  • As an extra precaution, always lock the pool area when no adults are present.

Barbecue your food, not your home

  • Put your grill at least 15 feet from any building, and grill only on a flat surface that can't catch fire. Do not grill on an apartment building balcony or deck.
  • Never use gasoline, alcohol or kerosene to start your coals. Once the coals are on fire, glowing or smoldering, don't put on additional lighter fluid.
  • When you're done cooking, soak the coals with water and close the grill lid and any vents tightly. If you have a gas grill, close the valve on the gas cylinder.
  • Don't move the grill or remove the coals for 48 hours, unless you can safely move the coals into a stainless steel pail.
  • Be sure you have homeowners or renter's insurance.

Safeguard your home and possessions

  • Do not leave windows or patio doors open when you're away. Also, be sure to close and lock your garage doors.
  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed, especially near doors and windows.
  • Secure patio doors with a lock.
  • Be sure to notify your neighbors if you'll be gone for an extended period.
  • Arrange for neighbors or friends to pick up newspapers and mail.
  • Leave some shades up or curtains partially open so that the house looks occupied. Consider putting timers on your lamps and leave a radio playing.
  • Arrange to keep your lawn mowed and maintained. Maybe ask a neighbor to park his/her car in your driveway.

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family Mutual Insurance Company is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter: