Summer is a time for relaxation, barbeques, vacations and outdoor fun. Children are out of school and parents may be looking for some outdoor activities to keep them entertained. Keep these tips at the forefront of all your summer fun to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy.
Beat the heat
Depending on where you live, summer heat can range from warm and rainy to blazing hot. With summer heat comes the danger of dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. All of these things are preventable by following these tips:
- Avoid mid-day heat. The hottest part of the day is usually between noon and 4 p.m. Watch the weather report and be on the lookout for heat advisories. Try to plan activities around the weather, or if you must be outside, try to find shaded areas to rest.
- Remember to hydrate. Being out in the scorching sun and summer humidity can cause you to quickly sweat out your daily water intake. Make sure to drink plenty of water and remember that sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol can actually further dehydrate you. It might be hard to pry kids away from summer sports and activities, but it’s important to monitor their water intake and make them take frequent breaks to hydrate.
- Wear plenty of sunscreen. For the best protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays, cover up with SPF 30 or higher. First apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before heading outside. As long as you and your children are outdoors, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours, but sooner if your child is sweating excessively, playing in the water or begins to show areas of redness. Learn more about the basics of sunscreen from the American Cancer Society.
- Dress for the heat. When you and your children head outdoors this summer, make sure that everyone is properly dressed. You can best tolerate soaring temperatures in breathable fabrics, like cotton. Hats and sunglasses may just seem like fashionable accessories, but both work to protect the delicate areas of the face and eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays and they should be worn outdoors whenever possible.
- Never leave a child alone in a car. Even with the windows down, temperatures can rise rapidly inside a car. Don’t leave your children in a car in the summer heat, even for a few minutes.
Practice water safety
During prime beach and pool weather, it’s important to make sure your family practices good water safety habits. It’s never too early to teach children about water safety.
- Always supervise your children in the water. First and foremost, make sure your children know not to play in or near the water without your supervision. This may be especially challenging with a pool at home, so be sure that your kids do not have access to the water by installing at least a 4-foot high fence around the entire in-ground pool. If you have an above ground pool, remove any ladders or stairs when the pool is not in use. Make sure that your children are safe under your supervision by avoiding distracting activities, like reading, using a smartphone or tablet, or talking on the phone.
- Learn life-saving skills. First-aid and CPR training are always good skills to have, but they are especially valuable if your children plan to play around water. You can find first-aid and CPR certification classes near you by searching by your zip code American Red Cross.
- Be aware of your children’s swimming skills. If your children are new or inexperienced swimmers, make sure they have the proper safety equipment. Don’t rely on novelty pool floats for safety. Equip your children with U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests at the pool, the beach or while boating. To find swim lessons in your area, contact the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office on your installation or enter your zip code on the American Red Cross website to search classes available near you.
Stay safe on vacation
Vacations are a time for everyone to kick back and relax, but remember to still be vigilant when it comes to your family’s safety.
- Supervise your children at all times. It can be easy to lose track of children on crowded beaches, amusement parks or at the pool if you become distracted. Make sure you pay close attention to your children to avoid accidents.
- Create a safe sleep space for babies. When traveling with infants make sure that your baby has a separate, safe sleep space.
- Be responsible with alcohol. Even one or two alcoholic drinks can impair your judgment, balance and coordination. Pairing drinking with boating or swimming can be deadly, and drinking alcohol in extreme heat can lead to dehydration. If you’re going to consume alcohol, make sure you do so safely and responsibly by not drinking when you’re supervising children, boating, driving, swimming or doing outdoor activities in extreme heat.
For more tips on parenting and safety, visit Military OneSource.