Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Ask a random person in the Midwest what they love about summer, and you’re pretty likely to get an answer involving lakes, cabins and camping. Here in our part of the world, it’s pretty convenient to plan an escape from urban living for a while in favor of peaceful, relaxing bonding time with the family at a nearby cabin, campground or resort.
But, even in nature’s playground, there are certain precautions that must be taken to stay safe - especially with kids around.
So, in light of summer camping season, here are some tips we’ve gathered that will help keep you and your family safe in the great outdoors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about ten people die from unintentional drowning around the country every day - two of which are children ages 14 or younger. More specifically, children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest drowning rates. Now, we’re certainly not trying to scare you with these stats; it’s just important to remember these facts, and remember that drowning is very preventable. Make sure a responsible adult is in place to watch out for the kids. Ideally, this person will be familiar with CPR and other life-saving techniques. Always have those life jackets handy; most boating injuries and deaths can be prevented with readily available flotation devices.
Mother nature can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to solar rays, so don’t forget about sunscreen and protective clothing like hats and sunglasses. Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays, but you’re pretty covered with consistent applications of an SPF 30 sunblock. Make sure the products you choose are water resistant and apply at least 1 hour before you expose yourself to the sun, and reapply every two hours - especially if you’re sweating or swimming.
It’s Minnesota; when the sun sets, get ready to swap the sunblock for bug spray. In addition to being obnoxious, mosquitoes and other biting flies can carry a whole range of vacation-ruining diseases. So, make sure you’re armed. Choose a repellent with active ingredients like DEET and picaridin; these are highly effective and can ward off pests for anywhere from four to ten hours. Also, much like with sunscreen, make sure you read product labels for time estimates and reapply when necessary.
Keep Distance. One of the great things about being out in nature is the potential for experiencing the wonder of rural wildlife. Now, while it’s great to spot a bear, raccoon, coyote or other critter, don’t go out of your way to lure them. Keep food waste, garbage bags and other temptations out of reach. And, if one of these wild creatures does approach your home base, keep your distance. Most of them are far more afraid of you than you of them, and will run off at the first sign of you, but when it comes to wildlife, it’s always better safe than sorry.
With all this fun in the sun, it can be easy to forget to drink lots of water. Don’t overlook this; dehydration can come on quickly and lead to all kinds of problems - especially in very active kids. And, most of the time, you won’t even realize you’re dehydrated until it's already set in. So, head it off by drinking a consistent amount of water, and pay attention to symptoms like extreme thirst, excessive sleepiness in infants and children, irritability and confusion in adults and sunken eyes; these are signs that a person is suffering from dehydration.
Remember - prevention is always the best solution, so keep these tips in mind - and enjoy every minute of your well-earned vacation!