With the approach of warmer weather comes the desire to go to the pool or hit the beach. Winter and spring sweaters and pants quickly get traded out for tank tops and shorts.
While enjoying time by or in the water is no doubt a popular pastime for those looking to beat the summer heat, water is not without its dangers.
At Fennell, Briasco, & Associates, we want you and your family to stay safe this season while enjoying your time at the beach or in the pool.
Follow these summer safety tips in mind for an enjoyable, memorable summer that you and your family won’t soon forget.
1) Plan According to the Weather
No one wants to get to the pool or the beach just to find out the weather is about to take a turn for the worse. Even if skies appear to be clear, check your forecast. In some areas, storms can show up in minutes without much warning. Lightning can also be hidden by clouds during the day, leaving you and your family vulnerable out in the open.
- A light sprinkle won’t likely ruin the day, but be prepared to seek shelter if rain becomes heavy or if that rain is accompanied by thunder or strong winds.
- Pack a picnic or some games that you can play under a park shelter while waiting out any nasty weather that pops up.
- If heavy storms are expected, simply pick another day. Storms that involve lightning will likely result in an evacuation of the area due to safety concerns.
- Be sure to bring along a change of clothing in case temperatures cool down or the wind picks up.
2) Bring Lots of Liquid
It is easy to get dehydrated without realizing it, especially if you’re in the water where its cooler. Make sure you and your family take regular breaks to drink water and other hydrating beverages.
3) Always Supervise Children
This cannot be overstated: it only takes a moment for a child to be swept away by a riptide or to go under the water in the pool. Do not take your eyes off of your children.
Some families even opt to have a designated “watcher” for 20 minutes at a time, a good practice that can save lives.
Water Supervision Tips:
- Drowning is not the big, splashy event as portrayed in movies. It is often much more silent and not as noticeable.
- Riptides are hard to notice, as well. If you are at the beach, it is best to educate yourself on what a riptide looks like and always have adults in the water with the children.
- Do not allow children to watch other children.
- When using life jackets, do not assume that this makes drowning impossible.
- Have a way to call 9-1-1 always available.
- Eliminate distractions.
- Teach your children how to swim properly but do not assume this means that accidents will not happen.
4) Make Sure to Safeguard Bodies of Water
Whether you plan to be around the water or not, sometimes children make their own plans. Unfortunately, there are stories of kids who escape the house and end up in the pool despite their parent’s best efforts to protect them.
Precautions you can Take:
- If you are swimming, find a place with a lifeguard and always use a buddy.
- Make sure that pools have proper barriers around them that cannot be easily accessed by children.
- If someone is missing, check the water first. Time matters in this situation, and it is important to rule out water.
- If caught in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore or tread water until help arrives.
5) Watch Out for the Wildlife
While wildlife encounters are bound to happen every now and again, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your family’s safety when face to face with Mother Nature’s creatures.
Wildlife Saftey Tips:
- Check with locals or lifeguards to see if there are known issues with jellyfish or other animals.
- If someone is stung by a jellyfish or stingray, avoid “old wives’ tales”. Instead, immerse the sting in water that is as hot as you can bear, or use a cold pack, to bring pain relief. You can prepare for this by keeping cold packs in a cooler.
- Shuffle your feet when walking the beach, instead of walking normally, as stingrays only sting when stepped on.
- If you encounter a wild animal (such as a boar at the beach), do not approach them. Calmly try to leave the area to avoid spooking the animal.
6) Always Wear Your Sunscreen
While most people are great at remembering the first initial application of sunscreen, it is remembering to reapply in a timely manner that can be an issue.
Tips for Time Under the Sun:
- Even if you want to get a tan, be sure to put on some sunscreen. Excessive tanning has been linked to high rates of cancer.
- Look for SPF 30 and ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium.
- Lotions are better for application than sprays, which can miss areas.
- Be sure to reapply every couple of hours.
- Always wear light-colored clothing and hats to prevent overheating and to provide an extra protection for your skin.
Make Your Summer Unforgettable in a Good Way
Following these safety tips will help you and your family avoid potential accidents over the summer, especially when around water.
Summertime is for making memories with family and injuries can get in the way of having a fulfilling summer. Spending time by the water is one of the most fun activities summer has to offer, and observing these safety tips will help your family maximize the fun.