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It is the season where many of us are spending hours (or even days) at a ball park or sports field. You may be there for yourself, your spouse, or more likely with your children or grandchildren. But have you planned ahead to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from the sun, insects, or unsafe equipment?

Start by being aware of your surroundings – did you park under a light? Can you safely move from your car to the field or diamond? There are often prime parking spots that allow for safer trips back and forth from the car, you may need to arrive early to get one. Are there places to sit like bleachers that are in good repair, or do you need to bring your own chair or cushion? Are there close bathroom facilities or a drinking fountain?

If the child in your life is playing a sport, make sure to check the league equipment and safety rules before you sign them up. There may be equipment you need toKids playing baseball order, or rules about the number of innings they can play or things like a pitch count. Kidshealth.org offers a great start to sports safety lists for a number of organized sports as well as bike riding.

Here is a list of a few things that can make your next outdoor trip to a park, field, or diamond a more pleasant experience:

  • Avoid ticks and mosquitoes by covering up and using an insect repellent. When you get home do a body check to insure that ticks are removed before they can embed into your skin and shower within two hours. The Environmental Protection Agency has an interactive chart to help you select the right insect repellent.
  • Practice sun safety with wide brimmed hats, and waterproof sunscreen that is 30 – 50 SPF and can be reapplied every 2 hours. Check the expiration date on the bottle. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
  • Ensure proper hydration by drinking about 2 cups of cool water before you hit the field, and then continuing to drink during time-outs and halftime, and following up with re-hydrating after the activity is finished. Sports drinks are not necessary for most athletes, good old tap water works for most of us with less cost and calories too.
  • If your outdoor time includes a pool or beach – make sure lifeguards or trusted adults are always watching children. Enforce water rules – “No diving means, No diving.”
  • Check any playground equipment to ensure that it is in good condition and not too hot to burn the tender skin of young children.

By practicing these safety tips, your trip to the ballpark or field can be a hit!

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm, https://www.cdc.gov/bam/safety/cool.html.

United State Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County

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