JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 3, 2023 – School is out and it’s time for summer vacations and many families will be heading outdoors for recreational activities. Don’t turn those days of fun into a trip to the emergency room. Follow these safety tips for a fun-filled vacation!
- Master water safety. Swimming is a favorite summertime activity; however, drowning is a leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4. Always supervise kids and remember, not everyone knows how to swim. Wear a properly fitted life jacket while swimming in lakes and rivers, and while out on the boat.
- Beat the heat and the sun. Overheating and sunstroke can occur in all ages while participating in strenuous activities during hot weather. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing when you’re planning to be outside. Whenever possible, schedule outdoor activities in the morning or evening. If someone starts to show signs of overheating, move them to a cool location immediately, make sure they get plenty of water and seek medical assistance if their condition doesn’t improve or worsens.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. A few serious sunburns now could lead to skin cancer in the future. To prevent sunburn, cover up and use sunscreen every time you go outside. Sunscreen also prevents hyperpigmentation and premature aging. The American Association of Dermatologists recommends wearing, at minimum, an SPF 30 and choosing water-resistant and broad-spectrum products. Apply more sunscreen than you think you should – a quarter teaspoon on your face, neck and ears, and at least a shot glass-sized amount for an average adult body. Reapply every two hours during continuous sun exposure to maximize protection.
- Keep bugs at bay. Did you know there are 176 species of mosquitoes in the U.S. and more than 90 species of ticks? Protect yourself from bites and diseases, such as Zika, West Nile virus and Lyme disease, all of which can be transmitted by insects. Use insect repellent containing DEET that provides long-lasting protection. Check for ticks after being outdoors and if you find one, remove it immediately using a recommended safe method.
- Drink right. Nothing says summer like a fruity umbrella drink, but you really should stay away from alcohol when you’re outside in the sun and heat. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the sun, particularly if you’re active and sweating.
- Check the weather before heading outside. Summer weather can be unpredictable, but thanks to cell phones, we can usually access accurate weather forecasts. It’s important to prepare for the weather so you can dress accordingly and help determine what to bring to keep you safe, protected from the sun and hydrated.
- Wear your helmet. While we don’t recommend you wearing it all the time, we do recommend wearing a helmet when riding a bike, horse, motorcycle, dirtbike or UTV. Be sure your helmet fits properly and is secure.
- Tell someone. Be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return. Once you return home safely, let them know. This helps in the event things go awry so they know to look for you if you’re not back in the expected timeframe.
- Keep wildlife wild. While it might be tempting to feed the cute little ducklings by the pond, the baby deer that’s left alone or even get up close and personal to get that perfect picture, remember wildlife is just that – wild! They can be unpredictable and possibly bite or attack out of fear or defense. Be sure to give them plenty of space.
- Prevent fires. Here in Missouri we are dry! So whether you’re roasting marshmallows over a fire pit or grilling burgers on your back patio, make sure to keep those activities at least 10 feet from a building. And don’t forget to extinguish all fires completely before leaving them unattended.
For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.