As the days get longer and temperatures climb, you'll be gearing up for vacations and spending much more time outdoors enjoying your favorite summertime activities. But with many more dangers to look out for, summertime isn't all fun and games.
We all know how important it is to apply—and reapply—sunscreen while swimming at the beach or pool, but it's easy to forget about sunscreen during some of summer's more run-of-the-mill activities.
Running, biking, golfing, and playing volleyball outdoors can mean spending hours in the sun. Just because you're not in a bathing suit doesn't mean you should skimp on the sunscreen—more than 2 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year.
Remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. So, if your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade. When it comes to sun protection, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you:
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all exposed skin. "Broad-spectrum" provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
- Use extra caution near water and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun.
Holiday weekends and vacations often involve spending time on the water. Remember that kids and adults alike—no matter their swimming ability—need a life vest while on the water. In 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard received reports for 4,789 boating incidents; 3,331 boaters were reported injured, and 709 died. Among those who drowned, 9 out of 10 were not wearing life jackets.2 Life jackets are just part of the safety story—for more tips, check out our helpful article on putting together a smart boat safety kit.
Even if you're just swimming near the shore at a local lake or beach, or visiting your community pool, choose an area with a lifeguard and be sure to follow all instructions. You can make your home pool safer by adding a fence with a locked gate to enclose the entire pool area. Read our summer backyard safety article for more information on combatting common warm-weather safety hazards.
And, no matter where you are, a responsible adult should always supervise children swimming.
When the weather's nice, it's often tempting to ditch the car for other ways of getting around. Everyone knows how important a helmet is when riding a motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle (ATV), but activities like bicycling, skateboarding, and rollerblading can be dangerous too—making helmet use just as important.
When buying a helmet for outdoor activities, look for:
- A snug fit. When strapped on, the helmet should cover your forehead and not move more than an inch in any direction when touched.
- Certification from a group that tests helmets for safety, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or Snell B-95 standards.
Motorcycle helmets are a bit different—see our article with tips for buying the right gear to learn more about your motorcycle safety gear needs.
According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates, helmet use reduces head injury risk by 85 percent.3 Add those elbow, wrist, and knee pads for even more protection!
All of the tips for sun and water safety, as well as helmet use, also apply to larger-scale adventures like canoeing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. So, the next time you head off the beaten path, remember to bring these items with you—they just might save your life.
Allstate can help protect your summer fun with auto, motorcycle, boat and ATV insurance. And don't forget that your homeowners insurance or renters insurance can help protect some of summer's most essential gear—like that new bicycle.
Get an easy no-obligation quote, call us at 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828), or find an agent near you to see how Allstate can help you save and be protected.