This summer, days are long and the air is fresh with the scent of flowers.
The Florida Panhandle is an ideal place to spend these days. We have a variety of activities available, like strolling along our beautiful beaches, canoeing with friends, tubing down the river, riding bikes or taking a walk to the park with the kids. But while we are laughing, playing and creating memories with family and friends, we must remember safety. Here are some reminders:
IN THE CAR
Never leave children and pets alone in a vehicle, even for a short time. Temperatures in cars rise fast, leaving kids at risk of severe heat exhaustion and dehydration. This can lead to death. Leaving them with cracked windows and water won’t really help, either. It is just not enough to keep kids and pets safe from the heat.
Rethink that trip to the store. I know it’s convenient and on your way, but do you really need to stop, or can you go later? If you have kids in the car, save that shopping expedition for when you’re driving solo.
Remind yourself that kids or pets are in the car. Put your child’s shoe (or a pet toy) in your lap, or place a teddy bear on your front seat to remind you that you have someone to take care of in the back. When you remove the hcild, put the teddy bear back in his or her seat.
Save time and gas by shopping online. A lot of times, you can still use coupons, pay little or no shipping, and set up auto-delivery options so you don’t run out of supplies. You can’t order everything online, but I haven’t run out of dish soap in months!
ON THE BIKE
Remind children and adults to wear bicycle helmets. You may not like how it looks, but a bike helmet should absorb most of the shock in a fall or accident, preventing injury. If you bike helmet has been in an accident, get a new one. You may not see it, but that helmet could be damaged and may not protect you as well.
Follow traffic rules and signs. Use hand signals when turning, and look before crossing. Motorists need all the help they can get, so avoid darting out or crossing in heavy traffic.
IN THE SUN
Apply sunscreen regularly. Even if you “only tan,” you can still suffer damage from the sun. Excess amounts of harmful UVA and UVB rays have been linked to causing cancer, sun spots and wrinkles. Use sunscreen, and re-apply after you take a dip in the water.
Wear a hat outside when possible. Although visors are a good option for keeping the sun out of your eyes, they do not cover your scalp, which leaves that skin vulnerable to damage.
Use lip balm with SPF protection. Our lips are just as important to protect as the rest of our skin; keep them looking good and safe from the sun.
IN AND ON THE WATER
Always supervise children at the beach or a pool. Waves or water can quickly overcome anyone, especially children. Young children can drown in just a couple of inches of water, or a small kiddie pool.
Follow posted equipment guidelines for flotation devices. Check and stick to recommendations for size and weight limits. For example, a person wearing a too-large life jacket could slip right out of it.
Limit alcohol use near water. It can be tempting to join in the fun, but alcohol can impair your coordination, along with your abilities to swim, drive a boat and drive home.
There is nothing I am enjoying more than exploring my new Florida home and soaking in the sun, but I want the excitement to continue, and I work every day to turn these tips into habits.