Showing posts with label summer activity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer activity. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Keeping Your Kids Safe This Summer

Summer is the best time to be a kid. It’s the season of beach weekends, camping trips, sun bathing, and long days at the pool. Unfortunately, it’s also the season of riptides, spider bites, sunburns and swimmer’s ear. Injuries, illnesses, and accidents can quickly transform a fun day in the sun into a harrowing – and expensive – trip to the emergency room. Here are a few tips to help prevent some of these summer mishaps and keep the good times rolling.

Emergency room sign

Watch the water

Water safety is no small concern when it comes to protecting your kids this summer. According to reports released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission , 137 children under 15 years old drowned in a pool or spa during the summer of 2012. According to the report, fifty-four of these fatalities occurred soon after the child moved away from a nearby adult. Talk to your children about the importance of staying close while swimming, and make sure you always keep your kids in clear sight. This is especially important when visiting the beach or a lake, since these places are not usually monitored by a lifeguard.

You may also want to learn about what drownings actually look like. They are less noticeable than many people might assume, which is why parental vigilance is so essential around bodies of water.

Children in water

Watch for critters

Summer is the season of mosquitos, spiders and ticks, oh my! It is a good idea to wear bug repellant when spending extended time outdoors, so go ahead and stock up on your family’s supply. In addition, here are a few other tips to help you deal with unexpected critter appearances this summer:

  • Remember to check your children for ticks on a fairly regular basis, especially since they can often go unnoticed.
  • If you find a tick on your child’s skin, do not panic. Instead, remove the tick immediately with a pair of tweezers. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT a good idea to use a hot match, kerosene or petroleum to remove a tick. Once removed, you should save the tick for identification, in case your child develops symptoms and needs to see a doctor.
  • You should take your child to a doctor if he or she develops a fever, headache, rash or any other symptoms following a tick bite.
  • Spiders! They may be gross, but the good news about spiders is that only a few species have dangerous bites. The spiders you most need to look out for are the black widow and the brown recluse spider. If you suspect your child has been bitten by one of these spiders, apply ice to the bite to slow absorption of the venom. You should then seek medical attention for proper treatment.
Tick on finger

Stay safe indoors, too

Home safety can sometimes be overlooked when thinking about how to keep kids safe this summer, but the security of your home is an important aspect of summer safety. If your children are the appropriate age, they may spend quite a few hours at home with little to no adult supervision this summer. Make sure your kids know they should never answer the door for strangers. It is also a good idea to keep a list of phone numbers for neighbors or nearby family friends who your children could call if they ever ran into an emergency at home.

Now may also be a good time to invest in a home security system, especially if you are planning to go on family vacations and will be periodically leaving your home empty. If you decide to get a security system, make sure you teach your children how to operate the system to ensure it is used effectively and to avoid false alarms.

Keeping summer fun

A safe summer is a fun summer. Taking a few key precautions can help keep your family both happy and healthy this summer, ensuring that it is a memorable season for all the right reasons.

Brian Jones
Guest Writer
Brian is the father of three beautiful kids and has been writing about personal safety for as long as he has been a dad. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five Ways to Explore the Great Outdoors

Maybe your friends or family members are more excited that June contains National Donut Day than they are about June being proclaimed by President Obama and most state governors National Great Outdoors Month.  To help you nudge those you care about to abandon the couch, the television, or the computer games for a little outdoor enjoyment, here are five ideas to help elevate the interest level.  Each were selected for their relative affordability, their availability nationwide, and their suitability to all ages.

Trail sign

1.  Explore a trail

The nice things about taking a day hike are that it's cheap (a decent pair of casual shoes or boots and you are ready to go), it's plentiful (trails just about anywhere in the US) and it’s very easy to adjust the scope of the adventure to match the skill and physical capabilities of the group, simply by adjusting the duration, the pace, or the difficulty of the trail selection. Good free resources for trails near you:
  • has trail pictures, topographical maps, elevation profiles, and user ratings for many great day hikes and hiking trails near just about any U.S. metropolitan area. 
  • Check out  Yes, it's a site dedicated to mountain bikes, but their trail guide section is outstanding and worldwide. Most biking trails are also open to hikers.
  • Don't miss by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, an organization that serves as the national voice for supporters of the 20,000-plus miles of former railways that have been converted to Trailways throughout the country, and advocates for the further transition of the more than 9,000 miles of potential rail-trails waiting to be built.  The nice thing about the trails featured on this site is that they are often flat trails, or trails with a very comfortable grade, since they were originally built to serve as train tracks.
  • claims to be the world's largest online trails resource. One brief tour of their site may convince you of this as well.

2.  Bird watching

Like hiking, bird watching is a very affordable sport. To make it a little more informative or educational, here are a few bird watching tips:

Bird watching
  • It's always good to have a bird watching handbook of some sort along with you on your adventure.  Some well-rated field guides for bird watching include National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region by the National Audubon Society, National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Dunn and Alderfer, and Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America by Kenn Kaufman.  Having one of these on hand will allow you to not only enjoy local birds, but be able to identify them as well.
  • Make the bird watching a more well-rounded adventure by packing a picnic lunch.  If your bird watching companions have trouble getting into the spirit of the field trip, a tasty lunch break is something everyone can enjoy.
  • While binoculars are often the stereotypical bird watching purchase, a better choice is to take a long a good digital camera or camcorder, both of which generally have telephoto lenses for getting a closer look at the birds, but also allow you to record what you see.
  • To get some professional help with your first bird watching adventure, consider a guided tour.  To find one in your area, use your favorite search engine and type in "bird watching tours" plus the name of your city or county.

3.  Go on a family swimming adventure

Part of making a swimming field trip a great memory is the creativity you add to what might otherwise be an ordinary trip to the local pool. To celebrate National Great Outdoors Month in style, consider spicing up a swimming field trip by:
  • Trying out a different city pool than your nearest;
  • Skipping the city pool for a more adventurous option, such as a local swimming hole at a river or lake;
  • Involving the entire family, especially if a normal swimming trip normally involves just one parent or the other;
  • Partnering up with friends who have a backyard pool, adding a cookout to the outing, along with fun pool games.
Girl swimming in lake

4.   Do a backyard campout

As it turns out, June is not only Great Outdoors Month but is also the month when we celebrate National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout on June 25Even if your family doesn't do camping, and therefore does not own a tent, there's a good chance that one of your friendly neighbors or relatives would be happy to loan you theirs, making this a virtually free way to enjoy the great outdoors. All you need is a backyard. If you're a renter – and thus fresh out of backyard space – consider doing a backyard campout with family friends who do have a yard.

Ways to make a backyard campout extra special:
  • Fire up the grill to add the tantalizing aroma and culinary delight of fire-roasted hot dogs and s'mores.
  • While the kids may be perfectly fine sleeping with nothing between them and the tent bottom but a sleeping bag, consider investing in, or borrowing, an inflatable air mattress or camping cot for the adults sleeping out. Or, save money by using your yoga mat or exercise mat for some extra padding instead.
  • For older kids, don't forget ghost stories – a campout favorite – that's sure to make this a memorable backyard campout.

5. Explore online for outdoor adventures

There is a plethora of resources online dedicated to the subject of enjoying the great outdoors. For starters, try one of these:
There something about fresh air and sunshine – or even rain – that makes for great memories. Don't let June – home of National Great Outdoors Month -- go by without tasting some of that great outdoors.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer