10 Standards for Summer Vacation

Here's how safety standards help us have fun on road trips, at the pool, and on our other summer adventures.
JP Ervin

Whether it’s a quick visit to a nearby park or a longer international trip, summer vacation is a time for relaxation and enjoyment. Many smart travelers keep an eye out for vacation tips, being mindful of ways to save money and stay aware of their surroundings while visiting a new country.

Safety is also a crucial element of any summer activity, as people head off to rent equipment, hop on theme park rides, or try out new restaurants. All over the world around us, standards are at work behind the scenes, guiding the construction and maintenance of the places we live and the products we consume. Even when we say goodbye to the home and the office, standards influence our summer adventures and travel experiences.

ASTM International standards are at work in parks, airplanes, restaurants, beaches, and many other destinations. Here are ten ways that standards help keep your summer fun.

1. Amusement Parks

Amusement parks offer excitement, and water parks provide a chance to cool off. The committee on amusement rides and devices (F24) has an extensive range of standards that shape almost every kind of theme park ride, from go-karts and bumper boats to railway rides and water slides. They even cover wave pools and other stationary wave systems. From the structural supports and control systems to the ride surface and the water itself, ASTM’s standard practice for classification, design, manufacture, construction, maintenance, and operation of stationary wave systems (F3133) helps us to have a splash.

2. Taking Flight

A great summer trip often starts with a bleary-eyed early morning ride to the airport. Staying safe in the air is an obvious priority, and ASTM has many standards related to airspace traffic and the construction of aircraft. The committee on aircraft systems (F39) has subcommittees focused on aircraft design, maintenance, and the hardware inside the plane you ride. The standard practice for maintenance of aircraft electrical wiring systems (F2799) specifically defines several practices that guide the maintenance and repair of the electrical wiring systems inside of aircraft.

3. Dining Out 

Whether you’re sampling something new, splurging for a special occasion, or just having a hot dog at a baseball park, eating is its own special activity. The committee on food service equipment (F26) has jurisdiction over approximately 85 standards related to the places we eat. When it comes to sanitizing equipment, heating food, or ventilating a kitchen, customers and food-service workers alike benefit from safe conditions. Standards apply to even the most basic equipment used to cook our food, such as griddles (F1919), deep fryers (F1963), and ice cream freezers (F1604).

4. Water Adventures

Sometimes, a relaxing day on the water makes for the perfect vacation. Activities like riding jet skis, water skiing, and wakeboarding can spice up a trip to the beach or the lake, but they also require careful attention to safety. The committee on snow and water sports (F27) closely monitors data around ski-related injuries and works to stay up to date with advances in ski safety. Their standard test method for breaking strength of slalom water skis (F3503) provides a means of assessing water skis for risk of breakage.

5. Summer Fits

Summertime offers a perfect chance to redesign your outfits. Whether you’re picking out the perfect wardrobe for dinner or returning home with a few souvenirs after a trip, vacation usually comes with more than a few shopping bags full of clothes. The committee on textiles (D13) maintains standards related to everything from raw materials to flammability testing. When it comes to clothing, even the smallest details have standards, right down to size measurements and care instruction labels.

6. Road Trips

Few summer activities are more iconic than the all-American road trip. Underneath the sights and the sing-a-longs, standards are busy at work, from pavement surfaces to the very components of your car. The committee on tires (F09) oversees more than 38 standards related to testing. And while tires might seem like a simple feature of a vehicle, it is crucial to test every detail, including the grooves in passenger car tires (F421), inflation pressure (F1112), and performance on a varying road conditions – including wet surfaces (F1650).

7. Playground Equipment

Playgrounds are a go-to destination while on summer break, offering children a chance to blow off steam – and parents a moment or two of peace. It’s especially crucial that precautions are taken to reduce the risk of injury on playground equipment. The committee on consumer products (F15) develops standards that affect hundreds of products that kids use, from strollers and bunk beds to cribs and highchairs. The standard consumer safety performance specification for playground equipment for public use (F1487) plays a pivotal role in overseeing the materials, layout, installation, and structural integrity of some of children's favorite hangouts.

8. Summer Barbecues

As great as it is to spend an evening at an expensive restaurant, few things beat grilling. Whether you're entertaining guests at a home barbeque or simply cooking up a few things while vacationing at the beach, safety is paramount, and more standards are in operation around us than we might realize. From pool safety, fuel containers, and the food we eat to lawn furniture, utility lighters, and the fuel in tiki torches, standards are an essential ingredient for any good barbeque.

9. Sports Equipment

As important as it is to relax during the summer, the season is also the perfect time for bike rides, camping trips, horseback riding, or a simple game of pickup basketball. The committee on sports equipment, playing surfaces, and facilities (F08) develops standards related to many lighter, summer-friendly sports (not to mention more intense pursuits like ice hockey, skateboarding, and pole vaulting). From the construction of residential basketball systems (F1882) to the precise measurements of sleeping bags (F2568), F08 standards are found almost anywhere we play.

10. Poolside

While few things are more fun than a trip to the beach or a water park, sometimes an inflatable pool in the backyard is more than enough for a good time. Inflatable pools offer simple and quick entertainment, but it is important to be careful when it comes to safety and sanitation. F15’s subcommittee on portable pools (F15.60) has developed a standard specification for aboveground portable pools for residential use (F2666) that provides safety and performance requirements related to the hazards of portable pools.

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