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National Park Service brings attention to taking safe selfies

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(CBSNews) -- After too many tragic mishaps, the National Park Service has designated Wednesday "Safe Park Selfie Day" to encourage more responsible picture-taking. Three people died in two recent incidents while they snapped photos in and around national parks.

Last month, a tourist from Hong Kong fell 1,000 feet to his death while snapping photos just outside Grand Canyon National Park. In October, a couple fell to their deaths at Yosemite National Park while taking a selfie.

Worldwide, selfies have been blamed for 259 deaths between 2011 and 2017, according to the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

On a web page titled "Keep Safety in the Picture," the National Park Service offers tips on staying safe while taking photos, including selfies.

"Location, location, location" matters, of course, but the message is clear: "Do not put your life at risk for a picture."

Park officials say, "If you want to take a picture of the animals, use a zoom lens on your camera. If you are close enough to take a selfie, you are way too close.

To avoid potentially hazardous falls, park visitors are advised:

  • Stick to the trails and boardwalks.
  • Keep your eyes on the trail and not your camera while walking.
  • Wear hiking shoes or boots with sturdy, rubber soles for stability and traction for the different terrain you might encounter in a park.
  • Stay on the safe side of barriers and safety railings.
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