Safe Fun in the Sun!
It’s almost here! That time of year that we all embrace with sighs of relief and anticipation. Another school year is almost complete, and our children are ready to head outside to play and explore for as often and as long as we’ll let them – Summertime!
To be prepared for the summer this year requires the usual considerations of sunscreen, hydration, water safety, and the like. Now, additionally, as we all know, there are new requirements for maintaining public health and safety in outdoor spaces.
7 tips for getting ready, staying safe and still having fun in the sun:
1. Masks & Social Distancing
It’s important to know what your own local and state governments are requiring for safe and healthy outdoor interactions so check your own local government websites for rules and information. In New York, the general requirements of maintaining a social distance of 6 feet from other people you encounter and wearing a face mask when you are unable to maintain social distance are still in place. In the summer heat, a mask does need to be worn. New York City has been distributing free face coverings in parks, DOE Grab & Go meal sites, and other locations, but you can also make your own or buy some from any number of websites. Goodhousekeeping.com has a recent article about finding face masks for kids and tips on how to get them to wear them. And the CDC has a page devoted to making your own face mask at home.
2. Hand Washing & Hand Sanitizer!
Nothing beats actually washing your hands to stay safe, but it’s not always possible to find someplace with the resources to properly do that, especially if you are out hiking or camping. Suds2Go, a new online company, just created this brilliant portable hand washing system. It is a dual-purpose water bottle that is ingeniously designed with a lid that has a refillable foaming soap container that dispenses soap on one side of it, and a spout for rinsing or drinking on the other. Amazing! Check it out here: https://www.mysuds2go.com/
It’s good, though, to always carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag or pocket, especially if there’s no available water source to wash your hands. It’s still a bit challenging to find stores that have hand sanitizer on their shelves, so why not make your own? Since the CDC only recommends alcohol-based hand rubs that are made with at least 60% alcohol, Popular Science Magazine offers 2 easy formulas for creating your own safe, homemade hand sanitizer: https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/diy-hand-sanitizer/
3. Insect Repellent!
Yes, those pesky, pokey mosquitoes, and hungry flies, ticks and chiggers also love the summer’s warm weather, and can be truly disruptive to an evening eating outside, or playing tag or watching the sunset. Bug sprays can be helpful in keeping insects at bay and can be purchased or actually created at home. There are many formulas for concocting your own insect repellent, most utilizing essential oils. Here are 2 sites that offer their recipes and reasons for making homemade bug spray:
4. Stay Hydrated!
Water, water everywhere, and don’t forget to drink! The medical world agrees that children and babies are especially susceptible to dehydration. And we know that often our children are so busy playing that they aren’t aware they are thirsty and potentially becoming dehydrated. Make sure your child hydrates before heading outside to play. Once the fun has begun, take frequent water breaks, every 20 minutes or so. While water is the best choice, fresh fruit juices, fruit ice pops, milk, even slices of watermelon will help keep your child hydrated. Sports drinks and sodas are not generally recommended for children, and because of the high sugar content, don’t always hydrate as needed. Bring your own water bottles when you head out. And to feel especially secure about refilling your water bottle from a local fountain or faucet, consider using a water bottle with its own filter. There are many brands of these portable, filtered water bottles, some of which you can review here.
Protecting your skin from the sun is Summer Safety 101. While covering up with hats, shirts, and pants is probably the safest and most effective way to protect your skin from the sun’s rays, it’s not always feasible or comfortable. Sunscreens come in many formulations and knowing which one to choose to use on yourself and your child can be a tricky task. The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, puts out a user-friendly, yearly Guide to Sunscreens which assesses sunscreen products based on their ingredients, safety and efficacy.
6. Be cool around the pool. And the ocean. And the lake.
Water safety is paramount during the summer months, both at the pool and at the beach or lake. This summer is no different, even though some public pools, like those in NYC, may not be open, and some beaches won’t allow swimming right away. Still, it’s always important to be reminded of best practices in keeping children safe in and around any water source.
- The Red Cross offers a helpful page on how to swim safely at the beach.
- And CNN has done a thorough article on how to stay safe at beaches, lakes & pools this summer, including tips specific to remaining safe during the pandemic.
7. #RecreateResponsibly & #RecreateLocal
The NYC Parks Department and the New York State DEC have partnered up to encourage visitors to NY’s outdoor environments to engage in responsible recreation and to share their visit on social media using the above hashtags. Check here to learn more about this initiative. The NYC Parks Department has an information page explaining health and safety changes implemented during this time because of the pandemic. NYMetroParents has a comprehensive article about going to NY beaches this summer which you can see here. Each state and municipality will determine whether their public parks and beaches are open, and what the rules are for the safe use of the facilities, including if bathrooms are open and if swimming is permitted, so make sure to follow safety guidelines for your local parks and beaches. If you need a few ideas on how to celebrate the great outdoors right outside your front door, check out our previous blog post Awesome Activities You can Do with Your Child Outside!
Share with us what your summer plans are in a message below! Post a photo of your own summer preparations on our social media. Whatever you choose to do to celebrate the sun and warm weather, we hope you enjoy your time with your children and family.
Thanks! Super Kickers.