How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Memorial Day
From light eating to the No. 1 beach danger, here are tips to making your Memorial Day healthy and safe.
Summer Safety for Kids
For kids, parents need to keep a few essentials in mind for the
summer, starting with SPF.
"For summer safety, you need to avoid sunburn and use good
sun protection," says Jeffrey Weiss, MD, head of general pediatrics at
Phoenix Children's Hospital in Arizona. "I think for most kids, the
recommendation is at least SPF 25."
Another tip for the summer is to make sure your kids are
properly buckled up.
"Parents should be reminded to put their kids in
appropriate car seats," says Weiss, who is also a spokesman for the
American Academy of Pediatrics.
For kids aged 4-8, that means positioning booster seats --
something a lot of parents aren't even aware exist.
"A lot of parents are putting their kids in that age range
in adult seat belts when the kids aren't really ready for them," says
Weiss. "Positioning seats are glorified phone books -- they raise the child
up so the shoulder harness properly crosses the chest and the lap belt properly
crosses the pelvic bone."
Weiss also reminds parents of these summer safety tips:
- Lifeguards are a must. "If you're going to be around water,
lakes, or pools with your kids, make sure there is a lifeguard around,"
says Weiss. "Identify an adult or a responsible teenager who is assigned to
do nothing other than watch the kids around the water."
- Use lifejackets when boating. Weiss echoes the sentiment of the
American Boating Association: "Make sure you have a life vest that is
appropriate for your child's age."
- Never leave your child alone in the car. "Your car can get up to
baking hot temperatures in just a few minutes in warm weather -- even with the
window open a crack," says Weiss. "The message is a child should never
be left alone in a car, even for a few minutes."
Rip Currents: No. 1 Beach Danger
What is responsible for eight out of 10
beach drownings? The answer: rip currents. This is common on many U.S. beaches
-- even in shallow water, says Richard E. Gould, parks director for the Santa
Clarita, Calif., and national statistics coordinator for the U.S. Lifesaving
Association. They're often misnamed rip tides or undertows. But they aren't
tides, and they don't pull you under water.
It starts on a windy day, usually before or
after a storm. Winds blow up waves that crash over a near-shore sandbar.
Gravity pulls the water back to sea, but more waves -- and the sandbar -- keep
it from flowing out. Eventually, tons of water flow sideways along the shore.
This is called a longshore current. If you've ever gone swimming and found
yourself pulled far from your blanket on the beach, you've been in a longshore
But sooner or later, all that water has to
go somewhere, says B. Chris Brewster, retired San Diego lifeguard chief and
national certification committee chair for the U.S. Lifesaving Association.
Brewster is widely regarded as an expert on rip currents.