FAMILIES are being urged to take extra care this summer holiday by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

As the temperature continues to soar NWAS say they have already seen a 22% increase in 999 calls on July 23 compared to the same day last year.

Now they are urging the public to only dial 999 in the event of a life-threatening emergency.

Director of operations for NWAS Ged Blezard said: “We all want to enjoy the long summer days, but no-one wants a visit to A&E interrupting their holidays.

"This time of year we traditionally see a rise in the number of children and young people involved in accidents which can be easily avoided.

“By keeping safe, we can all enjoy the summer and it helps to ensure that those who really need our care can receive a timely response.

“For those in need of urgent medical help but it’s not an emergency, NHS 111 Online is available to offer expert advice.

"It can direct you to where you can find most appropriate care or you may get a call back from a nurse.”

Here are some top tips to help stay safe throughout the summer months:

In the Heat

  • Drink lots of water – It is important to keep hydrated as you lose more fluid than you take in during hotter temperatures, this is also vital if you are doing any physical activity and when you are travelling long distances.
  • Keep out of the sun – It is best to try to stay in the shade between the hours of 11am to 3pm, as this is when the sun is at its hottest.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses – Apply a sun cream of at least factor 15 that includes UVA protection and make sure your sunglasses have UV protection lenses to protect your eyes.
  • Loose clothing – Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes along with a hat.
  • Look out for others – Keep a check on those vulnerable to the effects of heat, especially the elderly, young children and babies and those who have a heart or respiratory condition such as asthma.
  • Never leave babies, young children or animals in a parked vehicle – Temperatures can soar in a parked car very quickly, and children under the age of two are particularly at risk of getting heatstroke or heat exhaustion.

Water safety

  • Unsupervised water – Don’t be tempted to take a dip in reservoirs, canals, lakes and rivers to cool down. There are hidden dangers lurking under the surface such as deep and cold water, debris and underwater currents which can result in drowning.
  • Keep an eye out – Children should always be supervised when they are in or around water and make sure they are swimming within designated areas.
  • Don’t be pushy – Never run, push or jump on others when in a swimming pool or at the beach and if you see someone in difficulty tell a lifeguard or call 999.
  • On the water – If out in a boat or canoe always wear a lifejacket.

Out and About

  • Road safety – When out on a bike or scooter always wear a helmet, be aware of busy roads and cross roads safely.
  • Dangerous playgrounds – Make sure you know where your children are going to ensure they aren’t playing in any hazardous areas such as railway tracks or abandoned buildings and always arrange a time for when they are going to be home.
  • Stick together – Don’t walk away and leave friends to get home on their own.
  • Drink alcohol sensibly – If you’re enjoying a tipple in the sunshine, be sure to know your limits and remember to drink plenty of water as the alcohol will make you even more dehydrated.

Medical help and advice is also available at your local urgent care centre, by contacting your GP, calling NHS 111 or visiting a pharmacist.