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Sun, Sand & Surf Safety

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So you've come to Florida for that long awaited vacation, checked into your hotel, changed into that new bathing suit and are ready to hit the beach and start on that tan. You want to be the envy of all your friends and family back home. Of course, the highlight of any Florida visit is a day at the beach, but whether you are staying a week or simply visiting for the day, it is important to take precautions to ensure you and your family’s safety.

Too often, days at the beach result in scorching sunburns. Even mild sunburns can cause days of misery, while extreme cases require treatment by a doctor. Near drowning are reported frequently in the surf and are often the result of ignoring safety rules and/or poor judgment by the victim. These are all needless tragedies that can mar your vacation. Knowing what precautions to take and taking the time to protect yourself and your family will result in a more enjoyable vacation and years of wonderful memories.

Sizzling Sun and Sand Safety

That new bathing suit has you bearing more skin than ever and it is easy for you to become lulled into daydreaming for hours on the warm sand and by the sound of the surf. Before it’s too late, there are just a few things you need to know about the sun.

Too much sun can not only damage and dry our skin over time, today it can cause a nasty sunburn and even death. Prevention seems to be the key here, so follow these tips:

  • Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the sun’s rays.
  • Apply sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15, paying special attention to the face, nose, ears and shoulders.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV (Ultraviolet) Protection.
  • Drink plenty of water and non-carbonated drinks, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Since overexposure to the sun is a major cause of sunburns, it is important to limit your time in the sun. And, don't get fooled into thinking you can't get sunburned when it is cloudy. You not only can, you probably will. Also, check the UV Forecast which is often broadcast on local news programs and published in local papers. The general rule is the higher the UV Index the higher the SPF needed in your sunscreen. It is equally important to recognize and carefully watch for the symptoms of sunburn and know how to apply first-aid. Remember that if you do get a sunburn, treat it seriously.

Sand poses a threat primarily to the feet. Feet can easily get burned from the hot sand or cut from hidden glass or sharp shells. Wearing foot protection is recommended.

Sensible Surf Safety

Whether you plan on simply wading in the surf or riding the waves, before you jump in with both feet, read these beach safety tips.

Always stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard. Never swim alone. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it, swim gradually out of the current by swimming parallel to the shore until clear of the current.

If you have small children you must watch them every minute, as leaving a small child unattended at the water’s edge can spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r. You must watch them no matter what water skills they have acquired and no matter how shallow the water. Do not rely on substitutes when it comes to the safety of your children -- the use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. These devices can suddenly shift position, deflate or slip out from underneath the child, leaving them in a dangerous situation.

If you follow these easy safety tips, you should have fun and enjoy your vacation at the beach and your trip to the Sunshine State.

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