Safety = Fun in the Sun!

June 20, 2014 by

Being in or near the water is a hallmark of summer fun. As a Native Floridian, I've lived within 5 minutes' walking distance to a bay or lake for most of my life. I love being by water, watching it, listening to crashing waves. But I also have a very healthy respect for it, and I am saddened each year at news of accidental drownings in pools, lakes, rivers and in the ocean. This month in Orlando there have been three reports of near drownings of children aged 4, 5, and 6, and an adult drowned in the lake in my neighborhood. In just a few short moments, lives can be lost and families are changed forever.

So I want to share a few thoughts and resources with you on water safety, because I wish you and your family a happy healthy summer with only silly photos and wonderful memories to carry forward into fall.

Dad swinging daughter at beach

Water Safety

First, if you have children or weak swimmers (like me) on a boat, be sure they wear life jackets. There are rules about that for a reason. Just do it.

Know the signs of drowning; they may be very different from what you'd expect from TV or movies. Here's an excellent article about the signs you may miss.

Never dive into a body of water if you don't know, for sure, how deep that water is.

If there are rip current warnings, don't go swimming. If you must wade, stay in very shallow water. When the red flags are flying on Panama City Beach, you get a ticket for swimming. The rules are different in Central Florida, and every year the news reporters have a hard time keeping up with the number of lifeguard rescues performed. Err on the side of caution.

In most places, remember that you're sharing the water with other living things, from water plants in lakes that can tangle around your legs, to reptiles (yes, we have gators and snakes down here), sting rays, jelly fish, and even sharks that may mistake you for food. You're swimming and playing in their homes, so be sure to be smart about it.

Read this article for first aid and beach safety tips.

Sun Safety

In our twenties, my friend Patti would celebrate her first beach weekend of the summer by laying out for two days straight. She would get so sunburned she would sometimes end up in the hospital.
We all benefit from some sun exposure (think Vitamin D), but too much is not a good thing. If you’re going to use sunscreen, use it after you’ve gotten a bit of sun, be sure to reapply it during the day, remembering to cover ears, feet and neck, and use one that’s not loaded with harmful chemicals. Personally, I use plain coconut oil, but if that doesn’t work for you, try one of these.

To protect your lips, remember the lip balm. And for your eyes, always wear UVA and UVB protective sun glasses, the larger the lenses the better, to protect your eyes in the sun.

These are just a few tips for staying safe and maximizing your fun this summer. What other things do you do to make sure your family stay safe all summer? Please share your tips below.

Wishing you and your family the happiest, healthiest, silliest, and most fun summer ever!

Toni

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