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As the sun rises higher in the sky and the temperatures climb, everyone across Florida eagerly anticipates the joys of summer. It’s a time for endless adventures, from lazy days at the beach to spirited poolside gatherings and outdoor escapades under the clear blue skies. Yet, amid the excitement of these warm-weather pursuits, parents need to prioritize safety alongside fun.

Summer safety includes everything from water safety to sun protection and beyond. It doesn’t have to be scary or tedious. With the right mindset and practical guide, summer protection will come just as easily as summer laughs, fun, and adventure!

Keeping kids safe around water

Spending time near water is a quintessential part of summer fun, whether at the beach, pool, a natural spring, or just in the backyard paddling pool. However, water activities come with inherent risks, especially for children. Here are essential strategies to keep your kids safe around water.

Active adult supervision is paramount to prevent accidents. Designate a responsible adult to watch children at all times, ensuring they are within arm’s reach. Avoid assumptions; just because there are many adults around doesn’t mean someone is actively watching the children. Use designated shifts or markers like bracelets to indicate who is responsible for supervision at any given time.

I know firsthand the importance of active supervision, especially with my four kids. While my older ones, aged 16 and 13, are pretty independent at the pool with their friends, I still make it a point to check in regularly. My 6-year-old is confident in the water but still needs supervision, while my youngest, at 2.5 years old, is just beginning to explore the pool with me by his side.

Practical tips for parents for summer safety around water

  • Swim in monitored areas: My daughter loves to go to the beach with her friends. I always tell her to choose swimming spots with lifeguards on duty whenever possible.
  • Bathtub safety: Never leave young children unsupervised in the bathtub, even for a moment. It only takes a few inches of water for a drowning incident to occur.
  • Enroll in swimming lessons: Teach children how to swim from an early age. Swimming lessons promote water safety and build confidence in the water. I’ll never forget the day my 6-year-old finally learned to swim because he wasn’t afraid anymore. It’s the panic that can cause even experienced swimmers to drown. 
  • Boating safety: If boating, ensure that every passenger wears a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.
  • Secure pool gates: Install secure barriers around pools or spas to prevent unsupervised access.

It’s also important to teach  children essential water safety habits to enhance their awareness and confidence in near water. I always tell my kids to make sure they are near an adult or can at least see an adult nearby. I also make sure they know and understand their own strength. For example my three older kids are pretty confident in the water and know their way around the pool, but only the 13-year-old can really swim in the ocean or a river.

I also never allow them to run around the pool or push anyone in that isn’t ready. While it may be funny and we remember those times growing up, there have also been a lot of accidents revolving around rough play around the water. 

The most important thing I’ve taught my kids is how to do CPR. The two oldest know what to do if they see someone drowning or chocking. The reality is calling for an adult isn’t the fastest way and while they do CPR someone can call for the adult or 911.

By following these proactive measures, families can enjoy water activities safely, creating cherished summer memories without compromising safety.

Skin care in the Sunshine State

Living in the Sunshine State offers abundant outdoor opportunities, but it also presents challenges when it comes to skincare. From harsh UV rays to pesky bugs, maintaining healthy skin during the warm months requires diligence and preparation. Dr. Tace Rico, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist at AdventHealth for Children, shares invaluable insights into caring for your family’s skin amidst Florida’s sunny climate.

Sun protection 101

Understanding the risks of sun exposure is crucial. Dr. Rico emphasizes the importance of using sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage to protect against UVA and UVB rays. She advises, “It’s important to look at broadband coverage on sunscreens. UVA is what causes our long-term skin cancer and sun damage.” Dr. Rico also stresses the significance of proper application, stating, “SPF is important. You need to put on at least two ounces of sunscreen. If you’re not applying the right amount then something like SPF 30 is more like SPF 15.”

Living in Florida, I have made it a habit of putting sunblock on everyone in the morning, whether we’re going to the beach or pool or just hanging around the house. More importantly, since I’m older, I have a different skincare routine in the summer than I do in the cooler months. The UV in Florida is almost always above seven, and that’s enough to cause mild sunburns. 

Prolonged sun exposure can lead to sunburns, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Following the “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, and Slide” method can help mitigate these risks:

  • Slip-on hats and clothes labeled with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), which acts like SPF for fabric.
  • Slop on sunscreen liberally, applying about a shot glass worth each time. Choose a broad-spectrum brand that covers both UVA and UVB rays and is water-resistant. Remember to reapply every two hours, especially if sweating or in water.
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat to cover ears and the parting in hair.
  • Seek shade under an umbrella or tent when by the water or during peak sun hours.
  • Slide on sunglasses to prevent sun damage to the eyes.

If sunburn does occur, soothing remedies can help alleviate discomfort. Soaking in a cool bath or applying refrigerated aloe vera can provide relief. Additionally, fragrance-free lotions and Ibuprofen can help calm the skin and alleviate associated pain. Also, “try refrigerating the aloe vera,” shares Dr. Rico, for added relief.

Bug bites

No matter how hot it is outside my younger kids love to go to the park. We’re lucky that our community playground is pretty good, but we also like to explore other parks and playgrounds around Central Florida. But with the morning heat and the afternoon rain come bugs and mosquitoes.

Bug bites are another common concern in Florida’s warm climate. Using DEET-based insect repellants is recommended to protect against mosquito bites effectively. After a bite occurs, minimizing itching and preventing further irritation is essential. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can reduce itchiness, while covering the bite with a Band-Aid can prevent scratching and potential infection. For more severe reactions, such as large, blistered bites or signs of infection, consult a pediatrician promptly. We love Bug Bite Thing {affiliate link} because it is a chemical free way to draw out the venom or saliva.

Skin rashes

Childhood rashes are also common during the summer months. While some rashes may be associated with viral fevers and resolve on their own, others may require medical attention. Mild irritant rashes can often be managed with gentle lotions, but a pediatrician or allergist should evaluate persistent or worsening rashes. Early diagnosis and treatment are also essential for birthmarks, as they may require specialized care plans tailored to each child’s needs.

Staying hydrated should be your #1 summer safety priority

Sometimes, we forget about water — we’re surrounded by it, we get in it, but we forget to drink it. And when we have small children running around all day under the hot sun dehydration is very real.

Florida’s summer temperatures can reach 104°F. It’s important to get the right amount of liquids in our bodies to not just quench our thirst but fulfill our hydration needs. You can drink six to eight glasses of water or even eat your water (celery, watermelon, grapes, etc.).

Living in Florida means we have to prioritize our safety because it’s the “endless summer” here in this beautiful state. While it’s good practice to ensure your kids can swim and protect their skin for the summer, preparing for it all year round is best practice. 

As the sun begins to set on another beautiful summer day in Florida, families across the state are wrapping up their outdoor adventures. From splashing in pools to building sandcastles on beaches, each moment is filled with laughter and joy. Amidst all the fun, one thing remains constant: a commitment to safety.

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Kattie Muniz
A college professor, mother of 4, self-proclaimed foodie, writer, reader, teacher, yogi, Kattie likes to keep busy. According to Kattie, she has two rounds of children: first round are 15 and 11, and second round are 4 and 1.5. She was a teacher for 10 years and once she had baby #4 she decided it was time to find something that fit her crazy life as a snack [babe] and a chauffeur. During this time she decided to start a brand called SnackB*tchPodcast, which led to her owning a marketing business. During that time she helped clients tell their story through short-form and long-form writing, and she learned a lot about what it takes to truly connect with people. Kattie was born in Miami, grew up in Nicaragua, lived in Miami and Virginia for a bit, and now lives in the storybook city of Winter Garden. Her life has been adventurous and she welcomes change and everything that life has to offer. The one thing that stays constant is her love for coffee, reading, and drinking beer and wine. What she loves about Orlando is the outdoor seating at many breweries, the family-friendly vibes of many restaurants, and of course the nature. Growing up in Nicaragua she basically lived outside and enjoys that Orlando offers the same opportunities with its many hiking trails, lakes, and rivers. However, her favorite place with always be the beach. She currently loves visiting Sarasota but aspires to visit every Florida beach before her daughter goes off to college. One thing that life has taught Kattie is that you can only control what you can control and to let go of what you can’t. She’s excited for what’s to come and can’t wait to share that with Orlando Mom Collective and City Mom Collective. For along with her on SnackB*tchPodcast on Instagram and Spotify and listen to her raw and vulnerable observations, funny family moments, and most of all easy-to-follow cooking tips.


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