March has arrived and that can only mean one thing for Alabama teens: Spring Break is near! When warmer weather rolls around, students seem to mentally check-out from any classes or homework, and start planning their trips to check-in to the beach or other tropical destinations. With so much chaos and excitement surrounding this sunny holiday, it is important to remind your children of the dangers that come with this vacation. Listed below are some tips and safety warnings of which they need to be aware, before they hit the beach:
Stay Sunsational: Although this may seem silly to your son or daughter, remind them to always apply sun screen before hitting the beach. Although we all (especially teens) yearn to look like bronze goddesses, there is a difference between looking tan and looking like a lobster. Sunburn can occur after spending as little as 15 minutes in the sun, and repeated sunburns can cause permanent damage. Encourage your spring breaker to wear a hat and protective clothing while in the sun, apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure and make sure the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level of their sun screen is 30+ and includes zinc oxide as an ingredient.
Swimming Safely: Of course, what is spring break without taking a dip in the ocean? The water around this time is usually a little chilly, but crystal clear and beautiful, nonetheless. However, It is important to understand that swimming in the ocean is not the same as swimming in the pool or lake. Unlike controlled bodies of water, the ocean offers wind, waves, undertows, changes in tide and other strong currents that can become deadly to those swimming in the waters. According to the National Park Service, it is imperative for swimmers to remember these vital tips: Do not swim in the ocean alone, non-swimmers should always have some sort of flotation device no matter how shallow the water, due to dangerous currents; never swim in the inlets, do not swim at night or near fishing piers, and most importantly, know the various types of ocean currents and how to get out of them. For a full list of tips from the National Park Service, visit their website: www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/ocean-swimming-safety.htm
Always have a buddy: Talk to your teen about the importance of the “buddy system.” I can remember learning the buddy system back in my camp and elementary school days and it has stuck with me because it works. Instill in your child to NEVER go anywhere alone. On vacation, groups are good— the bigger, the better. Encourage your child to memorize important phone numbers incase their phone gets lost or looses charge, and talk with your teen and their group to help them determine a location where they should go if the group gets split up or someone gets lost. Make sure your teen understands that it is never okay to go anywhere alone (even the bathroom!), and groups should consist of three or more buddies at all times!
While these rules may put a damper of your teen’s spring break fun, it is so important to talk through all of the dangers that this holiday has to offer. Making sure your teen understands all of the risks involved with taking a vacation with their friends is the first step to a fun and safe Spring Break!
For more information of Spring Break, teen safety and more, visit us online at www.potentialmagazine.com or on Facebook and Twitter! Also, be sure to check out the latest issue of Potential when it hits news stands this Friday! Happy Spring Break, Alabama!