Summer Vacation: Being Ready For Anything.

We just got back from our first beach trip of the summer.

Aflac summer safety

Summer took so long to get here for us, and now it’s so wonderfully underway. The kids have had their great big birthday party, and their birthdays. My birthday is only five days away (gulp). The kids have completed two weeks of summer camp and we have two more overnight trips on the books for us, and not to mention countless mini road trips that are on my agenda. Summer seems to go by so fast as an adult, and most definitely as the parent of at least one school-age parent, that I can’t help but sigh and wonder at the fullness of our days. From waking up to the camp morning rush and making sure to sunscreen the kids before we go out the door, to catching fireflies at night (“for just five more minutes, Mama”) and letting the kids stay at the playground until just after dusk has fallen, summer safety has been on my mind more than ever. It needs to be.

summer vacation

After wrangling a potty-training three-year-old and a newly-beach-confident six-year-old, I found that my iPhone and my beloved library book (“All the Light We Cannot See”) were mostly abandoned during our vacation. Even with other adults around, our eyes were always on the prize – the safety and happiness of the kids. I’m teaming up with Aflac today, to give some summer vacation readiness tips. Aflac is a Fortune 500 company that provides individual and group voluntary insurance products that help deliver protection to more than 50 million people worldwide, and has done so for six decades now!

And safety readiness starts.. in the car:

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– This may seem obvious but I’m amazed at how often I see people not in seatbelts. Always wear your seltbelts! There is no reason EVER not to wear it, even for short distances. Scarlet would LOVE to roam free in the car, but it’s never happened.

– Make sure your child is in the right car seat for them, and that you’re not switching to a booster too soon. My kids have summer birthdays so we are able to do weight checks in the summer, and ask the doctor questions about proper car seats.

– Put blankets or towels OVER the seatbelt, and not under it, to ensure kids are fitting properly in their car seats. It can be tempting after a day at the beach to have them sit on a towel or blanket. Bring dry clothes to change them in instead.

– Never, ever leave your kids in the car when it’s warm or hot out. Even a few minutes in a hot car can turn dangerous fast.

Safety readiness on land:

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– Use appropriate gear and equipment for sports and games. Some equipment may look optional, but it’s not! It’s important to wear all necessary pads, helmets and safety gear each time your kids play a physical sport or use a bicycle, scooter, etc.

– Prep is important. Make sure your kids are adequately prepared with warmups and training sessions before outdoor sports and games, or after summer vacation activities. This will reduce the chances of an injury.

– Teach your kids to listen to their bodies. If at any point they feel pain or discomfort while playing or swimming, they should notify an adult.

– Unless you have older kids, take turns with another parent keeping an eye out on the kids when they are playing outside.

– Remind your kids to look both ways when they are crossing the street and to never run out between parked cars. Kids younger than age eight should be crossing the street with an adult or older kid.

– This is especially important where we live and vacation – daily tick checks at the end of the day! Since bugs have the ability to carry diseases, mix together essential oil blends or get a bug bracelet, bug spray or bug bracelet.

– Also depending on where you are, keep your eyes out for dangerous plants – like cacti or poison ivy – and animals.

Summer vacation readiness in the water:

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– Invest in swimming lessons for your kids, as they are important in showing your kids how to swim, how to be safe, and how to have fun in water.

– Invest in the right floaties or life vests for your young children.

– Scope out the area you are visiting, and check the currents, tides, lifeguard hours, etc. of the beach. It only takes a minute to get swept away.

Lastly, summer vacation readiness tips for everywhere:

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– Stay hydrated! Drinking water is important for daily life, but even more so in summer. You should be upping your water intake regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Teach your kids this.

– Protect your skin and your kids’ skin with sunscreen. You need to apply it about 20 minutes before sun exposure, and make sure to reapply often.

– Keep a first-aid kit on hand. There are always going to be cuts and scrapes. I remember cutting my foot open on a shell in the ocean when I was a kid!

– Get accident and supplemental insurance coverage. Accidents are more common than you think, and are likely to happen during summer vacation, so make sure your family is covered. That’s where my friends at Aflac come in – to help provide peace of mind and cash benefits to help you and your family get back in the summer vacation game fast.

To learn more about Aflac and how they can help your family stay safe this summer, visit HERE.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. What great tips and so glad you got to get away this past weekend, but I did very much still miss you at BlogHer in NYC this past weekend. Just wasn’t the same without you there, but totally get why you weren’t. But still you were missed, my friend totally.

  2. I certainly second all your wise recommendations for summer safety! As a trauma surgeon I can not understand why someone would be so foolhardy as to not wear a seat-belt or a helmet with full face protection on a motorcycle!

    Glad you had a safe fun time at the beach!

    1. Dr. J – I can’t imagine what you’ve seen out there but I shudder!
      It was awesome at the beach. We’ll be back soon and we’ll be safe there again!

  3. Such awesome pics, Tamara! Loved reading your tips, and I haven’t actually been on the lookout for people who don’t have seatbelts on. That’s nuts! It’s so automatic for me so I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t put it on. But I guess people still don’t.

    I also agree about having the kids look both ways. We have them stop at every intersection and we all hold hands. I’ve seen cars drive like maniacs!

    1. I’ve totally seen it with kids! I never even think to look but I guess I couldn’t help but notice it recently.
      People definitely drive like maniacs!

  4. So timely, actually these tips are timeless, someone is vacationing every single day, and it’s always summer somewhere. And I always need the reminders, especially about sunscreen, I always seem to forget it! There were several tips here that I had never thought about, the towel or blanket under the seat-belt. With all the rain this season we always check ourselves for ticks when spending time outside, those little buggers seem to be everywhere! Thanks for the reminders.

    1. So true! We travel to Florida in January so it’s warm(ish) there.
      The towel and blanket one is so easy to do, because we totally did it as kids without thinking twice. Times have certainly changed, but hopefully in the right direction.

  5. Oh my ticks!! None of those guys are down here in our desert, but mosquitos, don’t get me started! I am always saddened by stories of pets and children getting left in cars. Summer is so fun, but you are definitely right, prep and safety are so important at all times.I am glad you are having a wonderful summer so far, we are nearing the end of ours 🙁 still more planned, but it has been great!

    1. I was totally thinking about you actually, in my section about cacti or animals. I mean.. scorpions!! Even typing that out gave me the heebies. But it’s about not knowing what might be dangerous in a new location. I’d have no idea of what snakes or spiders are dangerous or not. Most around here are not.

  6. I am such a big fan of preparation and love all of your tips! Especially avoiding dehydration and sunburn. I have All You Can Not See on my nightstand to read once I finish my current read. Let me know how what you thought. Happy Birthday week to you – we are in one or two days of each other from what I remember….

    1. I tend to dehydrate myself even on a non-summer day. I am the worst at drinking water! Makes a huge difference.
      Well I started the book last night and I’m in not at all in love yet, but there’s time!
      Awesome about being birthday twins!! I’m Saturday.

  7. Benjamin is right on the edge of being too tall for his 5-point, but not heavy enough for a booster. I’m planning on taking him to the Fire Station to see what they recommend. Frances is now big enough to sit in a regular seat, but she’s so used to her booster, she’s still in it!

    1. I totally know that weird in-between phase. We have one of those seats that grows with a child to 80 pounds, I believe, but I won it on a blog! I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise because $$$.

  8. I’ve done many a tick check. They are so small, it’s hard. And with all that gorgeous hair, look out! I’m reading “All the Light We Cannot See” as well. Soooo good!

    1. I just started it but I haven’t been vacuumed into it. I haven’t gotten to that point in which I can’t put it down. It’s early yet – the first few chapters. Please tell me it was slow for you in the beginning too?? Too much bombing detail. I need more.

      1. It is kind of long and the story jumps around between a couple of key story lines and timeframes. Stick with it because it is pretty interesting…. I’m a slow reader, so i’m afraid many books are slow for me!

  9. These are great tips. My car dings when the seat senses an occupant & I won’t put the car in drive until everyone has on their seat belts. Looking both ways for kids is something you’d think their parents would teach. I was on a walk yesterday & saw these 2 kids run across the street in front of an SUV (twice!) to chase a ball. I hope you and the family had a lot of fun, it looked like it!

    1. Wow, cars are clever these days, aren’t they?
      Scarlet is so naturally cautious but I do wonder if Des would run near a road. I certainly hope he’s been learning from me!

  10. I need to sign my kids up for swim lessons. Since, they can’t swim they always wear swim vests when in the water. However, we don’t go swimming very often because it’s too stressful for me since they don’t know how to swim. I’m afraid of them getting hurt. Especially, since I just learned about dry drowning.

  11. Great tips – it amazes me how many still don’t follow them (duh?!?). Your pics are AMAZING!!! ahh the summer birthdays…. Enjoy!!!

  12. I feel like every summer I freak out how quickly the summer goes by. As Eve gets older it only gets worse!
    Important tips to remember. I’ve been trying to be really diligent about sunscreen, especially with Eve now that she’s running all over the place (last year it was a bit easier since she wasn’t mobile really until September).
    Yay for weekend trips and mini adventures. I’ll be in the Berkshires this weekend 🙂

    1. Yay to the Berkshires! I’ll be in the White Mountains but I’ll wave to you from my mountain range.
      I think it gets worse with kid age but summer seemed long to me before kindergarten. Everything did. Because now I have someone to answer to, if we want to take a trip. Before, the preschool didn’t care!

  13. Love the way you grouped the safety tips! The importance of staying hydrated is something I’ve become aware of over the last few years. Drinking water is so simple yet so vital.

    1. Thank you!! I totally didn’t want to just do them randomly so I thought of the group idea. You’re the first to notice it, or at least say it to me!
      I just had to drink water. It’s so hot out and it was only my second glass of the day. Oops.

  14. These are all really good tips!! I admit, the kids have put towels under them in their carseats….
    My family thinks I’m crazy with the sunscreen, but they’ll thank me later!
    Summer is going by waaaaayyy too fast!
    Cheers to more summer fun!!!

    1. Oh honey – I think we all have been there. I think my entire childhood was spent like that, to be honest.
      The sunscreen craziness is a good one!

  15. Coincidentally, Aflac is already on my to-do list. That dang goose-duck in the commercials wore me down pretty good. Will follow your link for more info. As for looking both ways to cross the street, I have Gracie walk me across the street every time. It’s her job to make sure I’m safe when we cross. This is how I make the lesson fun.

  16. Oh how I just adore the fact that you are so entrenched in summer JOY!!! Those are excellent safety tips… soooo very important to be reminded of over and over again.

    Those pics literally made me catch my breath!!! SO absolutely breathTAKING!!!

    1. Thanks about the photos!! More to come, of course.
      Summer is pretty amazing. Very few days above 90 and just lots of room to explore. I’m loving it.

  17. Great tips! Summer seems to be flying by. My boyfriends birthday is next week, we are going to drive to LA and get some much needed beach time. Now if I could only figure out what to get him… 🙂

    1. That sounds fabulous! My birthday is Saturday and we’re going to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
      Good luck with gift ideas! I struggle with that.

  18. We have health insurance, so that would cover us if we had an accident. I love all your tips, though 🙂

  19. Fantastic summer tips! (I’m actually reading this while watching T take swim lessons…those are so important). I just don’t understand people who don’t wear seatbelts. I always tell the kids that I’m not worried about my own driving, I’m worried about the other drivers who aren’t paying attention. Put the seatbelts on!

  20. You know.. I just saw a passenger in the backseat of a compact car nursing her baby while they drove.
    I don’t get how people can take such great risks and not think anything of it! I remember when car seat laws came into effect and what a pain it was to train yourself to buckle up but its worth its weight in gold if you ask me!
    Now they just need to fix the use of cell phones in the car…

    1. What?? That is insanity. I’m sure I’ve seen something like that before, though.
      I don’t remember car seat laws but I remember it being very different when I was a young kid in the 80’s!

  21. These are all great suggestion on how to make sure you are safely prepared for accidents and other mishaps! It’s easy to get carried away with all the fun summer brings, but it’s important not to forget safety whever you are (car, land, and water)!

    1. For sure! I had so much fun labeling the car, land and water groupings for the safety list. I tend to get carried away when I’m not careful.

  22. We are lucky in Canada not to really have to worry about health insurance because its all covered, but these are awesome. And you know what? Drinking water is so important, I need to do remember this for myself too.

    1. Thanks so much! And it’s sad to not feel covered for a good price, for sure. It’s nice to have these great alternative options with Aflac.

  23. Good tips! I have 2 boys and I always have a stash of first aid supplies in my home, cars and on our boat. Accidents happen- it’s good to be covered.

  24. Swimming lessons for Kids is a good idea!These are all great tips. While an actual First Aid Kit might be much to walk with … its good to still have some items from the kit

  25. Why apply 20 minutes before (sunscreen)? I believe you, and that’s about right here, since we apply before we arrive at the beach. Just wondering the significance of the time. 🙂

    1. Good question! The Skin Cancer Foundation actually recommends 30 minutes if you can, because it can take 20-30 minutes for the sunscreen to be fully absorbed into your skin. I think with two kids, 20 minutes is more realistic for us!

  26. I just love seeing your photos. You capture your kids so beautifully. Yes, being at the beach can definitely be dangerous. Thanks for sharing these tips to staying safe!

    1. Thanks so much! My kids get so sick of my camera!
      It’s amazing what can go wrong at the beach, but often, things go just right.

  27. Very very important tips!! I see a lot of people not wearing seatbelts here too! Drinking water is also very important. I drink water a lot especially that my country is a tropical one.

    1. Ugh, about the seatbelts! And I wondered about the tropical climate – I imagine you sweat more than we do here, especially since it’s so cold here for half of the year!

  28. omg, I LOVE that photo of your kiddos on the raft, so, so, so cute!!! these are all great tips–can’t tell you how many times I wish I carried some bandaids in my purse for on the go mis-haps!

    1. Oh wow – did you have a great time? I only go to Florida in the winter and it’s actually not that warm then, but still the sun is strong.

  29. We are ready to head out and I cannot wait…I am such a worry wart when we are on the road especially since we are traveling with a damn trailer in tow. Yes, we are going camping. I love it, I really do but just one year I’d like a hot shower and a bed and not to be going with my in laws.
    Great tips Tamara!

  30. Great tips!! I have mini first aid kits stashed everywhere I think. but they never seem to have band-aids when I need one! And I was the one that needed one this time — thanks to a very sharp clam shell in the sandy waters of the beach. ouch! and it cut deep. thank goodness there are no sharks up here, because I was CHUM.
    So my safety tip is invest in some good water shoes too!!! even the soft sand can hold hidden dangers.

    1. Ouch! It hurt me so badly when I was a kid. I was bleeding all over my flip flop. Luckily no stitches but I had no idea a shell could do that!
      Water shoes = excellent tip.

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