School’s out for the summer! That means the kids will be free to play outside, swim in the pool, and have fun with friends. While it’s a fun time to look forward to, there are some dangers to watch out for. Here are the top 9 tips for a safer summer.
Don’t forget sunscreen!
Make sure “fun in the sun” doesn’t result in a severe sunburn. Rays are strongest between 10am and 3pm, so if you can avoid strong summer sun during that time, it’s best. If you can’t, make sure you apply SPF 45 sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. SPF 45 sunscreen blocks 98% of harmful UVA/UVB rays. Anything higher doesn’t provide additional benefits and anything lower offers less protection. Sun is most detrimental to children under 18 and can lead to cancer when they’re older, so make sure your kids and yourself are protected with sunscreen this summer. And if you’re going to be swimming or sweating, remember to reapply sunscreen more often!
Choose safe sunscreen.
Not all sunscreens are safe. Sure, they protect your skin from the sun, but they’re loaded with chemicals that can harm you and the planet. When choosing a sunscreen, you’ll also want to check to see that it has UVA, UVB, and broad spectrum protection. These will prevent the damaging types of rays from harming your skin. Here are some safe, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free sunscreens you can buy:
Sunscreen can only do so much. In order to keep yourself from missing out on playing outside, consider buying yourself and your kids SPF shirts and clothing. These materials help block UVA/UVB rays and keep your body cooler. The SPF system works the same for clothing as it does for sunscreen. For instance, SPF 50 means it’ll take 50 times longer for sun to damage your skin than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen at all. Here are some brands with great SPF clothing products:
Keep the pool secure.
When you’re not in the pool, you’ll want to either have a pool alarm, fence, or a tamper-proof cover to keep your kids (and those in the neighborhood) safe. These will ensure that no one is swimming when adults aren’t around to supervise. Every year, 350 children under five drown in swimming pools—the majority of which happen in backyards. It’s important to keep children and pets away from the pool when it’s not being supervised so tragedies don’t happen. Read more about pool safety devices from wearable bracelets to gate alarms and more.
Warmer temperatures are pleasant, but they can be dangerous. Heat stroke is one of the most dangerous aspects of summer—killing almost 700 people per year. It happens because of overexposure to heat and dehydration that lead to the inability for your body to maintain equilibrium. When your body temperature goes above 105 degrees, you can suffer brain damage and even death. Signs of heat stroke include:
- Discontinued perspiration
- Shortness/rapid breath
- Redness of skin
Pets can overheat too. Large dog breeds are especially susceptible to overheating and bloat which can lead to death. If you or someone you know demonstrates these symptoms, they need to drink water and get to a cool, shaded place immediately. Placing ice packs on pulse points like the groin, wrists, and neck also help speed cooling. Ultimately, when the weatherman forecasts and extremely hot day, take it easy and stay cool to prevent heat stroke.
Drink lots of water.
Depending on your age, height, gender, and weight, you’ll need to drink a certain amount of water per day. In general, you should drink half to one ounce of water for every pound you weight. If you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80–160 ounces of water daily. When you add heat or exercise to the mix, you’ll need even more.
That’s because when it’s hot out, your body uses sweating to cool itself down. If you stop sweating, you can suffer heat stroke like we talked about above. Dehydration is also an issue that can lead to digestive problems, headache, and dizziness. On a hot day, an average person can lose up to 1.5 quarts of liquid in an hour. On top of your recommended daily amount of water intake, you’ll need to drink an additional 48 ounces of water for every hours you’re in the heat. While it seems like a lot, that’s what your body needs to function properly.
You can calculate how much water you need per day on CamelBak.com.
Add safety elements to toys.
During the summer, your kids will spend a lot of times outdoors. Will they have access to trampolines or jungle gyms? If you’re in control of this, you can make them safer. There are trampoline nets you can purchase that surround the outside of the surface. If your child gets out of control, they’ll bounce into the net instead of falling to the ground. Between 2001 and 2011, one million people went to the hospital for injuries related to trampolines—300,000 of those were broken bones. As you can see, a net can save you from a high likelihood of injury.
During the summer, there are twice as many car accident fatalities than the rest of the year combined. The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is also known as the “100 deadliest days for teens” because of drunk driving, holidays, and being out of school. If you’re going to be out on the road taking trips or running errands, pay close attention to your fellow drivers. Defensive driving courses are offered in many places and learning some tips could help keep you and your passengers safer on the road too.
Watch the surf report.
If you’re heading to the beach, make sure it either has a lifeguard or you’ve read the surf report. Undertows (or rip currents/riptides) are dangerous currents that can sweep children and adults off of their feet, under water, and out to sea. You can’t always see them from the surface, but lifeguards and surf reports will alert you of the dangers. Riptides claim the lives of at least 100 people per year. If signs are posted that say “swim at own risk,” it’s probably better to go to the town pool.
Once you have your summer safety tips down pat, then you can start enjoying warm weather and vacations. You can also brush up on your pool safety knowledge and equipment. For now, take this advice with you and enjoy your summer!