Into the Woods: Summer Safety
Summer in Wisconsin is cause for celebration, and many families take advantage of warm, sunny weather and summer vacation to spend time outdoors and in the woods camping, hiking and exploring. Proper preparation can make your next trip into the woods safer for your entire family.
Dress for success
When heading outdoors, be sure to wear clothing that will protect you from the elements and keep you cool. Don't forget a hat to shield the sun, sunglasses, socks and closed-toe shoes.
Keep bugs at bay
Bug bites are itchy and uncomfortable, but they can also cause infection and disease. The best protection for children older than 2 months of age, comes from a repellent that contains between 10-30 percent DEET. (According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control)
Speaking of itchy and uncomfortable, know poisonous plants
A sure way put a damper on summer fun is a bout with poison ivy. Learn to identify plants like poison ivy and poison oak. If you believe your child has eaten or had skin or eye contact with a poisonous plant, call the Wisconsin Poison Center 24/7 toll free at 1-800-222-1222.
Load up on sunblock
Even if you are under a canopy of trees, remember that the worst sunburn occurs when you least expect it! UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny ones. Use a broad-spectrum (against UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen and lip screen with at least SPF 30+ and reapply often.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Being active in the heat means our bodies need more water. Hydrate before, during and after activities. Remember that little ones dehydrate fast. Avoid being out in the hottest parts of the day.
Pack a first-aid kit
You can purchase a travel kit from the American Red Cross, your local drug store or you can make your own. Basics should include: bandages, gauze, tape, non-latex gloves, burn cream, an instant cold pack, antibiotic ointment and alcohol wipes.
Beware of the dark
Don't get caught unprepared after dark. Be sure to have a flashlight or headlamp to light your path to prevent tripping. Stay on marked paths and keep track of your trail so you don't get lost
Watch the weather
Prepare for unpredictable weather. Storms blow in and out during all seasons so watch for changing weather conditions that could prove hazardous.
Keep your eye on kids
We all know accidents happen, but we can prevent many from happening by actively supervising kids. Whether around water, fire or in the woods, stay distraction free and keep eyes and focus on kids at all times.