School is officially over for the year with just about every school district wrapping up last week, which means it’s on to SUMMER! There are tons of great things about summer – sunshine, warm temperatures, swimming in the ocean, frolicking through meadows, camp fires, catching fireflies – the light goes on and one. But with all of these fun activities and free time come some things which need to be undertaken with a bit of extra caution.
Let’s get back to basics, shall we? You probably know to pop on some sunblock before you head outdoors – 30 minutes prior to heading outside, to be exact – but do you know how often you should reapply?
First thing’s first – don’t try to get by the the sunblock you picked up at the beginning of last summer. Sunblock has an expiration date, and it’s super important you abide by it – otherwise all you’re doing is putting on some moisturizer. Do yourself and your family a favor and pick up some new sunblock to kick-off the season the right way.
Now, how often should you be reapplying?
At minimum, plan to reapply your sunblock every two hours. But …
If you – or your little one – are running around and breaking a sweat – or even if you’re just sitting around breaking a sweat (it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity – we know), your sunblock is basically just dripping off of you. Reapply every 45 minutes to an hour. And if you’re in and out of the water, be sure you re-apply as soon as you get out – even if you’re wearing “waterproof” sunblock. As it turns out, waterproof sunblock isn’t actually waterproof. It can outlast regular sunblock just a smidge longer in the water, but it isn’t impervious to splashes.
There’s nothing better than jumping into the pool or splashing into the ocean on a super hot day and feeling instant relief from the heat. But the water – even the shallow end of a pool – can be incredibly dangerous. Here are some things to keep an eye on when you’re having some aquatic fun.
Drowning doesn’t look like drowning. In movies and on TV they often depict someone who is drowning as flailing around, coughing, and screaming. Yes, that person is in distress and should absolutely be helped – but that isn’t what drowning looks like. In fact, when someone’s drowning it might not be obvious. People who have taken water into their lungs can’t breathe – which means they can’t yell and they can’t move around very much… so they might look pretty calm, except for a scared expression on their face. And they could slip under the water without anyone noticing – so always, always keep an eye on the kids in the pool! Even the adults, for that matter.
One trick that lifeguards use is to constantly count the occupants of the pool – if there are six people in the pool and suddenly there’s only 5, and you didn’t see that 6th person get out – clear the pool and get ready to possibly jump into action.
Rip Currents/Rip Tides
If you’re water fun is taking place at the beach, rather than a pool, be on the lookout for rip currents. A rip current – sometimes called a rip tide – occurs when there’s a sandbar near the shore, which can be obscured by water. As the waves roll in along the beach, the current takes on a different pattern between the sandbars, pulling water out swifty in an effort to recede, and not entirely coming back to shore. Rip currents are incredibly strong, and even excellent swimmers can get caught up in them.
First – be on the lookout for a rip current. If you’re paying attention, you can actually see them. When the waves are behaving normally, they flow on to the beach in long lines – but when there’s a rip current there may be a break in the waves where the water looks almost as if it’s standing still. This is because the water is rushing out beneath the surface of the water, rather than rushing in. So if you see water that looks a bit suspicious – stay clear!
If you find that you’ve gotten yourself caught in a rip current you must do these two things:
- REMAIN CALM! Rip currents are strong and fast (at their fastest, they move 8 feet per second, faster than any person could possible swim), and fighting them will tire you out quickly. While the rip will pull you out and away from shore, they don’t pull people under water – so let it take you. It may take you 100 yards out from shore, but they have a definitive end and it isn’t very far off shore. So, remain calm and tread water or float on your back until you feel the current release you – then…
- Swim parallel to the shore – do not swim back the way you came. If you need to get out of a rip current and you’re a strong swimmer, you don’t need to wait for the current to let you go. You can simply swim across it (that is, out of it either to the left or the right) – do not try to swim straight back toward shore. Rip currents are often pretty narrow – since they form in between sand bars – and as a result if you can get to the edge, you can get out of them. The key is to resist the urge to swim directly back to shore. Swim off to the sides, and once you’re out, swim diagonally back to shore – don’t try to swim parallel to where you just were, because the current may be wider at certain points and you could get pulled right back in.
We here at Pay4SchoolStuff.com hope that you all have a healthy, safe, and fun summer! We’ve got a lot more in store for you in the next few weeks to make sure 2015-2016 kicks off with a bang, so keep checking back!