Summer Safety Tips for the family (Part 2)

Family on a summer hike up a hill.

This summer, we are focusing on steps to keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy! In Part 1 of our blog series, we talked about the importance of protection from the sun and heat, water safety, and preventing the spread of insect-carried disease. This week, we explore how you can take advantage of the summer weather to create a healthy lifestyle for your family.

  1. Get Outside to Get Healthy and Active

    Getting active as a family is a positive step you can take for total family wellness, this summer. Regular physical exercise is shown to decrease the risk of stress, heart disease, obesity, and other health concerns both immediately and later in life. Whatever you end up doing to stay healthy this summer, make sure you customize it to your specific family. Reason being, you are more likely to stick to exercise habits that you enjoy and that fit into your schedule. Looking for a little inspiration? Here are some of our suggestions of healthy family activities:

    • Walk More: We do not always realize it, but there are many ways to incorporate more walking into your life. Park at the far end of the parking let when you go to the grocery store. Opt to walk instead of drive, when possible. Consider walking to a local coffee shop or park, instead of driving. If you don’t live in an urban area that allows for easy walking, visit one of those areas and conduct multiple errands on foot.
    • Stay Active on Vacation: If you are going away this summer, make sure to pack comfortable shoes! Make time to explore your new surroundings by foot or bicycle instead of by car. Staying in a hotel is a great opportunity to utilize amenities, like the pool or gym.
    • Create a Chore Chart: If you are still struggling for ways to get your family involved with summer fitness, consider creating an “active chore chart”. Every day, have each member of your family select a card. Your cards can include activities like “walk the dog”, “get the mail”, “unload the dishwasher”, and “take the trash out.”
    • Look for Group Activities: One of the best ways to encourage your family to get more exercise is to do it together! Enroll in a local family fitness class or enter a 5K! If these aren’t options for you, create your own family fitness class using YouTube videos or a self-constructed program. Does your family like bike rides around the neighborhood? Does dancing ignite the fire of your little ones? Do not be afraid to get creative and ask your family members for their ideas!
  2. Be Careful on the Playground

    Playgrounds are a great place for kids to run off energy, get exercise, and socialize with other children. However, they can also be dangerous. Every year, more than 200,000 children in the United States are taken to the emergency room after a playground accident, most often after falling from equipment. One of the best ways to prevent playground accidents is to carefully supervise children playing. Before your kids play, check the equipment to make sure it appears well maintained. Look for dangerous hardware or loose pieces that may indicate unsafe equipment.

    For optimal safety, playground equipment should be padded underneath with either safety-tested rubber mats or 12 inches (at minimum) of ground covering like mulch, wood chips, sand, or pea gravel.

  3. Drink Fluids

    Spending more time outside in the heat means it is more important to stay hydrated. Stop every fifteen to twenty minutes when engaging in physically-taxing activities. Don’t neglect to water before and after exercising. Sports drinks containing electrolytes are also great to options, specifically ones containing little to no sugar.

    Staying hydrated protects against developing a serious heat-related illness like heat stroke. Between sips of water, you can also mist yourself or your children down with a spray bottle to refresh on a hot, summer day. This also adds to hydration levels through skin absorption.

  4. Prepare Food Safely

    Summer is the perfect opportunity to switch up your eating habits by incorporating more fresh produce and taking your meals outside for some extra Vitamin D. If you are picnicking, barbequing, or eating around a campfire this summer, be alert to proper food safety when packing and preparing your meals. Food-borne illness rates rise during the summer. Always wash your hands before and after food prep, cooking, and eating any meal. This can stop the spread of bacteria from uncooked to cooked foods. To avoid risk of salmonella when preparing meals, be careful not to cross-contaminate across cutting boards, serving dishes, or utensils. If you do need to re-use a surface that handled raw meat, you will need to wash it with hot, soapy water first.

    If you are packing food for later, think about the temperature your food should be stored at. Try to pack foods, like meats and dairy products, that need to stay cool, together in a cooler with ice. Other foods like dry snacks, fruits, and veggies can be packed separately. Try to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, without shifting their temperature back and forth. If you do use a cooler, keep it closed when possible to avoid contamination and ice melting.

    Clean your produce and meats before cooking or eating. The outside of produce may contain pesticides that should not be ingested.

    Making an effort to stay healthy this summer? Call Capital Women’s Care to make sure you are caught up on all recommended physician’s visits.

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