No early morning alarms, lots of ice cream and plenty of fun in the sun are the highlights of summer break. While enjoying all the spoils of summer, remember to keep the kiddos safe while visiting the Outer Banks. Make sure they continue to have a fun and safe vacation with these helpful summer safety tips. Happy, healthy kids mean parents can finally settle down and relax too.

1. Say Current on the Currents

Getting caught in a rip current or rough seas can quickly turn a good time swimming into a scary situation. Make sure to check the weather report online or read the current conditions on the nearest lifeguard stand.
Also, make sure your kids know about rip currents, how to spot them and how to get out of them. Rip currents are strong, narrow flowing currents that move away from the beach, pushing swimmers further out to sea. The currents are so strong that swimmers begin to panic and become exhausted when they cannot swim pass the current to make it back to shore. Teach your kids to swim parallel to shore until they are out of the current and can swim back to beach safely.

2. Stay Hydrated

When playing and sweating in the summer sun, our bodies need extra water to remain healthy. Make sure the kids are drinking water continuously throughout the day, especially when they are active in the summer heat. If your kids struggle to drink water, add fruit or fruit juice to their bottle for a better taste.

3. Save Your Skin

Make sure your young ones keep their baby smooth skin by applying and reapplying sunscreen while out in the sun. Use sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, water resistant and broad spectrum to protect against ultra-violet rays. Check the bottle to see when to reapply. It takes 30 minutes for sunscreen to really soak into the skin, so applying before you and your crew hit the beach is the best option.

4. Be Shady

Cool down by finding a shady spot to sit or rest while traveling around the Outer Banks or hanging out on the beach. 10 am – 4 pm is when the sun is the strongest, so bring an umbrella or find a shaded area like underneath a fishing pier to regulate your body temperature. Shade eyes with sunglasses and wide brim hats to protect those sweet faces.

5. Bring a Buddy

Whether they are swimming, biking or exploring, use the buddy system. There is safety in numbers and a playmate is an added bonus

6. Use the Crosswalks and Stay Alert

With lots of families on the OBX this summer, keep your family and others safe by using the crosswalks while on foot. Make your intention clear to drivers and ask young kids to hold hands with older family members for added safety. Move across quickly as a group so no child is left behind

7. Love Your Soles, Mate

Avoid tears and whining by protecting your little ones feet. The pavement and sand can heat up to boiling temperatures in the summer. Water shoes are a good way to avoid burns from the sand and cuts from shells or sharp objects in the ocean or sound.

8. Memorize Important Phone Numbers and Locations

If your child doesn’t already know your phone number, take some time to practice memorizing it with them before your OBX getaway. If older kids are out exploring on their own, add your vacation home’s address and directions to their cell phone or write it down on a piece of paper for them in case they get lost.

9. Pack Non-Perishable Snacks

Even with a cooler, yogurts and other dairy products are more likely to spoil in the sun. Pack snacks that can take the heat.

10. Bypass the Bugs

Avoid itchy skin and insect related diseases by spraying the kids down with bug spray that contains DEET or picaridin. Citronella, lavender and eucalyptus essential oil sprays are a more natural option to help repel insects. Bugs are attracted to scented soaps, perfumes, hair sprays and bright clothing, so avoid wearing these items when visiting marshes or wooded areas.

Enjoy summer to the fullest by passing on and practicing these summer safety tips with your kids. Wishing you all a safe a happy OBX summer vacation!