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Summer Safety

Summer Safety Tips for Families Here on the Suncoast: Staying Safe in the Water, Heat, and More

| Angela Naff |

Summertime is a season for family fun, outdoor activities, and creating lasting memories. Whether you’re planning a beach vacation, spending days by the pool, or exploring local parks, safety should always be a top priority. Here are essential summer safety tips to help families stay safe while enjoying the sun, water, and outdoor adventures.

Water Safety

1. Supervision is Key: Never leave children unattended near water, whether it’s a pool, lake, or ocean. Drowning can happen quickly and silently. Always have an adult present who is capable of swimming and can respond in an emergency.

2. Learn to Swim: Enroll your children in swimming lessons. Knowing how to swim can significantly reduce the risk of drowning. Even if your child is a confident swimmer, they should still be supervised at all times.

3. Use Life Jackets: Ensure that everyone, especially young children and non-swimmers, wears a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or participating in water sports. Life jackets provide crucial buoyancy and support in case of an accident.

4. Understand Water Conditions: Before heading to the beach, check for water conditions and warnings. Be aware of rip currents, which can pull swimmers away from shore. If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, then swim back to shore.

5. Install Barriers: If you have a pool at home, install barriers such as fences with self-closing and self-latching gates. Pool covers and alarms can add an extra layer of protection to prevent accidental drownings.

summer safety

Heat Safety

1. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration is a common issue during hot summer days. Encourage your family to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration.

2. Wear Sunscreen: Protect your family’s skin from harmful UV rays by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply every two hours, and more frequently if swimming or sweating. Don’t forget to apply to often-missed areas like ears, neck, and the tops of feet.

3. Dress Appropriately: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton. Light-colored clothes reflect sunlight and help keep the body cooler. Hats and sunglasses can provide additional protection from the sun.

4. Plan Outdoor Activities Wisely: Schedule outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. Avoid strenuous activities during peak heat hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

5. Recognize Heat-Related Illnesses: Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and headache. If you suspect heat exhaustion, move to a cooler place, drink water, and apply cool, wet cloths to the skin. In cases of heatstroke, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

General Outdoor Safety

1. Apply Bug Repellent: Insect bites can be more than just a nuisance; they can transmit diseases. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to protect your family from mosquitoes and ticks. Check for ticks after spending time in wooded or grassy areas.

2. Practice Safe Grilling: If you’re planning a barbecue, practice safe grilling techniques. Keep the grill away from structures and overhanging branches. Never leave the grill unattended, and keep children and pets at a safe distance. Use long-handled tools to avoid burns and follow proper food safety guidelines to prevent foodborne illnesses.

3. Be Prepared for Emergencies: Carry a first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. Know the location of the nearest hospital or urgent care center in case of an emergency. If you’re heading to a remote area, inform someone of your plans and expected return time.

4. Teach Kids Safety Rules: Educate your children about basic safety rules. Teach them how to recognize and avoid hazards, what to do in an emergency, and the importance of staying close to adults. Role-playing different scenarios can help reinforce these lessons.

5. Enjoy the Shade: While it’s great to soak up the sun, it’s equally important to take breaks in the shade. Set up a canopy or find a tree to relax under, giving your family a chance to cool down and reduce the risk of sunburn.

Summer is a wonderful time to create cherished memories with your family. By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your outdoor adventures are not only fun but also safe. Remember, a little preparation and vigilance go a long way in preventing accidents and keeping everyone healthy and happy. Enjoy your summer to the fullest, knowing you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your loved ones.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash and Deposit Photos

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