Summer Safety Tips: Have Fun This Summer Finally! After a long school year, summer is here. It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy summer for all it’s worth. You can enjoy the longer days, warmer nights and lighter moods, but it’s also important to be safe this summer. Check out our tips below and brush up on your summer safety IQ so you can get out there and have fun without a worry! Use Sunscreen Sunscreen is the name of the game when you want to have fun outdoors and protect your skin at the same time. It’s best to find a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 with “broad spectrum” protection. This will protect your skin from harmful rays. If you have any questions about which sunscreen is right for you, be sure to ask your parents. If you're especially sensitive, try wearing large sunglasses and a hat with a 3-inch brim. Remember: A baseball cap will only help if the brim is facing front. Be Safe In the Great Outdoors Nothing helps us connect with nature better than a hike or trip into the woods and it’s important to be aware of your safety first. If you are hiking in an area with a high incidence of Lyme disease (a bacterial infection spread by ticks) ask your parents or doctor about any summer safety tips and preventative measures you can take. Meanwhile, stick to the center of trails while walking in wooded areas to avoid picking up ticks from high grass and brush. Wear light-colored clothing that hugs your ankles and wrists and allows you to see ticks easily. Look to use an insect repellent with DEET (bugs hate the smell of it). Also, be sure to check your pets to make sure they don’t carry ticks back home with you. Pay attention for poison ivy, the world's most common allergy causing an allergic skin reaction. It affects almost half of all Americans. Remember the adage "leaves of three, let them be!" Once you come into contact with it, poison ivy oil remains potent for a long time. Immediately wash yourself and your clothes. If you notice a rash starting, apply calamine lotion, plain ice or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, scratching does not spread the poison ivy, but it can make the sore worse and lead to infection. Be Aware of Your Surroundings Anytime you’re in a new place, take a look around. Acknowledge the people and things around you. Look for signs to help guide you, too, so you don’t get lost. When you’re exploring the forest or even the mall, practice safety in numbers. Walk with a friend or stay with a group. Reduce distractions so you are aware of what’s in front, behind or next to you. When you're around water (whether at the beach or near a pool), pay attention to the depth of the water. Head out to a comfortable depth and stay where someone is watching you. Also, make sure someone is always there to keep an eye on your personal items! Never leave a camera, wristlet or cell phone unprotected. Basic Summer Safety Tips to Remember If you go out for the day with friends, make sure your parents know where you’re going and how they can get in contact with you. Drink plenty of water and exercise in the cooler times of the day. If you experience symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as fatigue, weakness, pale, clammy skin, and/or profuse sweating, lie down in a quiet, cool place and ask for a cold pack and/or salt water. If you hear thunder, you're close enough to be struck by lightning. In the event of severe weather, follow these steps: Stay away from isolated trees, boats and convertibles. Don't use the phone, don’t take a shower and turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor. If your skin starts to tingle or your hair stands on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Put your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest possible target and minimize your contact with the ground. Summer is the perfect time to have fun outdoors. Whether you plan to hit the beach, hike in a new park, hang by the pool or read a good book in the shade. Be sure to follow these summer safety tips and you will have an exciting, fun and safe summer you will be talking about all year. Learn about summer safety tips and get helpful advice at BeingGirl.com.