Summer should be a time of fun, adventure and excitement, but if you aren't prepared for the hot weather and the great outdoors it's all too easy for your summer outings to end in tears. Bug bites, sunburns and accidents in the water are common during the summer holidays. Use these tips to make sure that your summer is full of good memories.
Making Your Summer Survival Kit
Your Mom most likely taught you to wear sunscreen every time you went out during the summer, and that's good advice! The FDA advises that if you're going out in the sun you should be wearing an SPF 15 or better broad-spectrum sunscreen. It is also important to reapply at least every two hours that you are in the sun. Wearing sunscreen doesn't just help prevent sunburns in the short term, it keeps your skin looking youthful and can help prevent skin cancer too. Sunscreen is just one important part of your essential summer survival kit though, protect your skin and that of your children by packing:
- SPF 15 or higher sunscreen
- Lip balm with added SPF
- Aftersun lotion
- Bug repellent
- Soothing ointment/wipes
- Some treats and small toys for those long car journeys
- Plenty of water
As you can see Bug repellent and soothing ointments are an important addition to avoid those nagging summer bugs and their bites! Note that a lot of products on the market, especially things like bug repellents, are not suitable for use by children. Powerful bug repellents that work on mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and other bugs typically contain high levels of DEET. This is an effective chemical repellent, but one that should be used carefully. If you are looking for a repellent that the whole family can use, choose something with no more than 30% DEET.
Remember that kids run around and play, get muddy, jump in the water, and are probably going to end up wiping off or washing off any creams that are applied more quickly than an adult would. This means that even with the best of precautions, it's likely that kids might get stung, bitten, or irritated skin. Packing some soothing ointment or creams designed for kids can help to take the edge off any minor accidents that happen.
Staying Safe in The Water
If you're heading to the beach or enjoying a lakeside holiday, pay close attention to water safety. Every day, around ten people die through unintentional drowning in the United States. Many of these tragic accidents could have been avoided through some simple precautions. Pay attention to signs when you are at the beach. If your kids are old enough, get them swimming lessons before you go on holiday. Teach your kids not to run too far away when you're near water, and remind them that the swimming pool is different to a lake, the sea, or a river. Outside, water can be:
- Very cold, making it hard to swim
- Polluted, so it can hurt your skin
- Could have hidden objects
- Shallower than it looks
- Deeper than it looks
- Moving quickly, with strong currents that can drag you away from safety
- Populated by stinging fish or other wildlife
Remind them to never dive head first into the water because you never know what could be below the surface and it could be more shallow than it looks. In Rivers and Lakes, this is especially important as waters are usually more murky and can hide floating objects.
In the ocean, particularly, things can change quickly. Make sure you and your children understand water safety and understand what to do if something goes wrong. It is very important to never panic, especially in the water. Check out the Red Cross Beach Safety Tips here.
Summer is one of the best seasons for family fun and outdoor activities, make sure you're prepared so that you and your family can enjoy everything it has to offer. Find safe spots for kids to play and enjoy your time in the sun. There's something for everyone in the great outdoors!