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Summer Essentials: What to Stock for a Safe, Healthy & Fun Summer

Here in the Midwest, especially the northern Midwest, our winters are long and brutal and our springs can often be cold and damp. So when summer finally arrives, we are ready to embrace every sun-soaked second of the season. But with summer comes hotter weather, thunderstorms, bugs, and sunburn. But we’re nothing if not adaptable, so we know a thing or two about preparing to manage whatever the season throws our way. We’ve got your tips on what to have on hand for carefree, healthy summer fun.


Stock up on sunscreen

Skincare experts recommend choosing an SPF 30 or above and applying at least 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. You can either choose a chemical sunscreen which absorbs into your skin to block UVA/B rays. Physical or mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and create a physical barrier against the sun’s rays. Many pediatricians recommend physical sunscreens for babies and kids. 


Don’t forget bug spray

Ugh, bugs. Not only annoying, they can also carry diseases like West Nile Virus or Lyme disease. When looking for a bug spray, look for one containing at least 30% DEET, which is what doctors recommend using since it repels mosquitos and ticks. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going outside or in long grass and be sure to check for ticks when you or your child comes inside.


Have water handy 

It’s important to stay well hydrated in the warm summer months. In general, kids between the ages of 4 and 8 need about 7 cups of water a day, 9 to 13-year-old females need about 9 cups, and males around 10. Older kids and teens between ages 14 and 18 need around 10 cups (for females) and 14 cups (for males.) Adults should aim to drink half their body weight in ounces of water. If plain water won’t do, try adding fresh fruit slices, drinking carbonated water or unsweetened tea.


Avoid sugary beverages. According to the CDC, people who often drink sugary drinks are more likely to face health problems, such as weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cavities, and gout, a type of arthritis.


Helmets for everyone

Everyone should have a helmet, regardless of their age or ability. Anything with wheels, whether it’s a bike, scooter, rollerblades or skateboard, your child should wear a helmet. If you’re biking, lead by example and wear your helmet, too. A helmet can mean the difference between a few bumps and bruises and a brain injury after a bike crash.


Pre-pack healthy snacks

“Mom, I need a snack!” And then multiply that times one thousand over the course of the summer and it’s enough to make you ready for fall already! Think pre-portioned baggies of baby carrots or strawberry slices. Or frozen chocolate-covered banana slices. Or a snack center in the fridge where they can grab their own yogurt, apple sauce or cheese sticks. If that fails, you can just set out a big Costco-sized box of mini bags of Goldfish crackers, we won’t judge. Having pre-portioned bags of mom-approved snacks at the ready will help kids feel more independent, while maybe giving you a break for a minute. 


Here’s to a safe, healthy and fun summer for everyone!