1. Sunscreen: If you are going to be outdoors for any length of time it goes without saying- use sunscreen! Whether at the park or at the pool, it's a good idea to apply and reapply. Did you know that the SPF numbers are not proportionate to the amount of protection provided? For example, a SPF of 30 is not twice as protective as an SPF of 15; rather, when properly used, an SPF of 15 protects the skin from 93 percent of UVB radiation, and an SPF 30 sunscreen provides 97 percent protection.1
2. Hydration. Staying hydrated is really important in the heat. To help keep my family hydrated I give them designated water bottles w/ ice at bottom. This allows them to keep track of whose water is whose, and keeps in cooler longer. I add water to their bottles about 1/3 full then pop it in the freezer the night before. When needed, I can take the bottles out the freeze and add fresh water to it. This keeps the water cooler as the ice melts. I know they make fancy water bottles with ice sticks in the middle of them now but I’m more inclined to use what I have now.
3. Stay cool. This goes without saying. Avoiding overheating is important as the temperatures continue to climb. When out at amusement parks, you will find misting stations (which I love) to help keep park goers cool. Since I don’t have a mister in my backyard I opted for a water table. I’ve honestly wanted my little guy to have one for quite some time. I finally bit the bullet and bought one that was on sale at babies R us. This is great for summer days where he can play alongside of us on the deck or we can even move it to the backyard area when the neighbor’s children come over to play.
4. Water safety: During the summer months we tend to enjoy more water play (see #3). Before my son’s first official swimming lesson, the swim center where he would be taking lessons mandated that we have a coast guard approved life jacket. I didn’t know that life jackets could be coast guard approved. I didn’t grow up doing many water activities. I took swim lessons around age 5 but stopped. At summer day camp we did go to the pool once per week- I know that I stayed in the shallow end for sure. And since then laws have changed. At my son’s current school, state laws dictate that they cannot be around standing water more than a certain depth. It essentially rules out everything except a water table and sprinklers. They can’t even have a slip and slide. Also did you know that children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates 2?! Sound the alarm- because I seriously didn’t know that. I also didn’t know that there were different types of life vests/jackets (which are properly called personal flotation devices). For example there are offshore life jackets, near shore buoyant vests, etc. I mentioned all that confusing stuff to say: Find out the water safety rules for wherever your headed- whether it’s a day at the lake or an afternoon at a pool, be prepared (especially when boating) with the right water safe equipment.
5. Don’t forget your pets! I’ll admit, we don’t have a pet nor have I ever had anything more than a fish in a lowly plastic bowl. But I do realize that pets are an important part of the family for more families. But my lack of experience leaves me with a lack of knowledge on pet safety during the summer, although I’m sure it isn’t too far off from humans. I recently over heard one of my coworkers saying she was going to get her aging dog some dog shoes. After the funny looks she explained that he was really sensitive to the hot pavement and wanted to protect his paws. I’m sure that’s a no brainer for dog owners but it would’ve never occurred to me that maybe the pavement might be too hot for their paws! So, while keeping your family safe is a top priority don’t forget about your fur family too!