Podcast Episode #33: Summertime Safety
Today Cindy and Alyssa talk about some summer safety tips including water safety at the beach and pool and tips for avoiding a sunburn. You can listen to the complete podcast episode on iTunes or Soundcloud.
Alyssa: Hello. Welcome to another episode of Ask the Doulas. I’m so excited to be here with my friend Cindy again from Cindy’s Suds.
Alyssa: Hi. Today we’re going to talk about a very relevant topic because it’s summer time and everyone’s swimming. We’re going to talk about water safety.
Alyssa: I was recently at a pool party for the 4th of July, and my friend and I both have five-year-olds in the water. We’re very conscious about making sure somebody had eyes on them at all times because it can be really scary. I know you have a personal story.
Cindy: I actually have several, and the thing that is so crazy about that is that at pool parties, I look around and I see moms hanging out with moms, and no one’s watching the kids. And it really, really freaks me out because drowning is a silent activity, and that’s what most people don’t realize. Most people think, because it’s portrayed on TV by splashing –
Alyssa: Splashing, yelling.
Cindy: Hands in the air, “help, help.” But drowning is silent, and I’ve witnessed several near-drownings just with my own family, friends, things like that, and it’s something that will stick with you forever once you see it initially. It first started out when I was growing up. I’m quite a bit older than my sisters, and I had to take my sisters to swimming lessons when they were little. And all of the moms were chit-chatting; they probably had cocktails, and they were all in a little circle. There was one pool instructor in the water with eight or ten kids, and I’m watching the kids. I’m obviously young, so I’m not hanging with the moms. I’m just sitting, focusing on the water, and my sister, actually, just slipped right below the water. The pool instructor had her back to her. The other moms were happy doing their little mom chit-chat, and I just remember my sister’s eyes boring into my eyes.
Alyssa: From under the water?
Cindy: From under the water, slipping slowly under the water. And I just – it took a second, and I’m just thinking, there’s nobody around. Nobody’s paying attention. And I jumped in the water, pulled her out, got her out. She was hysterical. She was coughing up water, and it was so scary. And none of the adults were any the wiser. Obviously, after I jumped in, they were like oh, what happened? But no one saw it because it’s so silent and it’s so quick. And it just happens in the blink of an eye, and if you’re visiting with your girlfriends or have any kind of distraction, like we all do, you could miss something that could potentially be such a tragic incident.
Alyssa: Did your sister ever go back to swim lessons?
Cindy: She did, but it took some convincing, obviously, and she was scared to death because she was trusting that people were going to watch her. She was little. She didn’t know.
Alyssa: How old was she at the time?
Cindy: I want to say she was probably around your daughter’s age, five or six. Maybe a little bit younger, but right around that age. And so it was just that image, just burned into my mind.
Alyssa: I can tell you can still see it.
Cindy: Yeah, I can visualize it. It’s right there, and this was at least 30 years ago. It’s just something that is seared in my mind. And then it happened with our own kids when were taking them to swim lessons. You turn your back for a second, and there’s one instructor with a bunch of kids. They can’t possibly watch all the kids, and kids are playing games and goofing off. The same thing happened with one of our kids, just kind of doing that quick slip below the water, but because their hands are right near the edge, it was super easy to reach down and pull them up. But the whole point is that as moms, we have to be aware that drowning is silent, and you have to have your eyes on your kids all the time. Even when they’re older, if you’re in a lake, lake waves and undertows and rip currents are a very real phenomenon, and just because you have older kids, that doesn’t give you the license to just all of a sudden mind your own business and hang out with your friends. You’ve got to treat water safety with such high regard all the time, no matter how old your kids are, no matter how great of a swimmer they are. It’s something that is just such a scary potential that you have to have your brain on all the time. You’ve got to have your eyes focus on your kids. If you are with girlfriends, that’s fine. Just don’t look at them when you’re talking. Just watch the water. You can still visit, but you’ve got to have your eyes on your kids, and that’s just something that I learned unfortunately early on just with the experience that I had with my own sister.
Alyssa: I don’t know if it was an article I read or a podcast I heard, but a gal had a similar circumstance where her child actually did almost drown, to the point of resuscitation. She is adamant about, first of all, water safety, teaching kids to swim, but also, if you’re having a party, you hire a lifeguard. Whether that’s a 14-year-old kid from down the road, but somebody who’s job is to watch; I know there’s five kids in this pool: I’m going to count five heads all the time.
Cindy: Yep, continually making that count, all the time.
Alyssa: And I thought that was such a brilliant idea. Even this 4th of July party where there were only three kids in the water and you think it’s easy to manage. I was very adamant, like I said, about either I was in the pool with the kids, or the dads were in the pool: somebody was always in there with them, watching them. But it’s so easy just to get caught up in grilling, go pour a cocktail, you know, there’s 800 reasons that you turn your back to the pool.
Cindy: Absolutely, and none of those are bad reasons, but you have to realize that this is a very, very serious problem that could potentially happen if you’re not aware, and you just have to have your awareness on high alert whenever you’re around water, especially with those younger kids that haven’t gone through proper swimming lessons yet and they just don’t know. You’re not out of the woods, obviously, if your kids can swim, because of the other things we just talked about, but especially before they’re strong swimmer or before they’ve gone through swim lessons, you’ve just got to have your eyes on your kids all the time. And also kids that aren’t yours. I’ve been at the beach before, too, where I’ve grabbed little kids right out of a wave that toppled them and they were just continually spinning and spinning. I’ve pulled them up, looked around – where’s Mom?
Alyssa: I’ve done the same thing at the beach.
Cindy: You know? Yeah.
Alyssa: And actually, on the opposite end, I saw a very old man who had fallen and the waves kept coming up, and he couldn’t get up. And I’m watching and thinking, is he just lounging in there? What in the world? And it didn’t take very long for me to realize that this man had been knocked over by a wave, and I ran to him and pulled him up. But just keep your eyes on everybody!
Cindy: Be aware! Yeah, and it’s like you just said, it’s not just your own kids, because unfortunately, other moms or other people, if they’re elderly, they just may not be able to sustain their grounding and the waves that we have at Lake Michigan. And you hear about drownings all the time. It’s not something that is unusual. We live by a wonderful body of water, but it’s also to be highly regarded because it can be very dangerous.
Alyssa: Teaching your children water safety early is crucial.
Cindy: It’s huge, yeah. Crucial, crucial. And also just making sure that as a mom or any parent that’s there, you really should just, even if you want to say, hey, you know, I’m chatting with you, but my eyes are going to be facing the water, and just kind of set that as a rule with whomever you’re going to the beach with, even if it’s just your spouse and you. Just say, hey, you know, let’s just watch the water and talk. We don’t need to look at each other to talk.
Alyssa: And I always say, hey, I’m going to go use the restroom; you keep your eyes on her. Let them know when you’re leaving and that it’s their responsibility until you get back.
Alyssa: So on a lighter note…
Cindy: I know, that was so heavy!
Alyssa: I know, it makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. But sunburns. I’m adamant with my daughter’s skin because she so fair-skinned. She can get a nice little tan, but I’m going to turn 40 this year, and you start seeing all the wrinkles and seeing all the damage that I did to myself as a kid sitting out in the sun literally with oil on me.
Cindy: Oh, yeah. We used to do baby oil on a rooftop with one of those tin foil-ish blankets under us. Really? What were we thinking?
Alyssa: Why didn’t people tell us? So bad!
Cindy: Well, you don’t know what you don’t know. I mean, at the time, that’s what it was. You wanted to get as dark as you could. Burn, because it will turn into a tan. But obviously we know better now, and we now can take what information is available and apply it to ourselves and our children. And so obviously when you’re at the beach – or anything outside, but the beach and water are going to have more of that reflective sun damage that occurs just because of the nature of sand and water. But sunscreen really needs to be something that you’re pretty careful about putting on. The safe sunscreens nowadays, they’re saying really the safest bet is just to use a mineral-based sunscreen like a zinc oxide. Titanium dioxide is also kind of like a cousin to that. They still are saying that zinc oxide is still the best. So just read labels; see what you’re putting on.
Alyssa: I think, too, with zinc oxide, it’s hard because you don’t want to look white. Sometimes it makes your skin look purple, so it’s hard to find one that rubs in really well and doesn’t leave this white film all over, which there are a couple I’ve found.
Cindy: You’ll have to let me know, because I’m in the process of still trying to find those. I know a mutual friend of ours has – Kitchen Stewardship, Katie, has a lot of great information on sunscreens that her family has tried. So we’re going through some of those now to try them on our family to see if they work for our family.
Alyssa: They’re probably on her list. In fact, I think they are.
Cindy: Perfect. So we’ve gone through several of those, but even just over the 4th of July, my kids were freaking out because I only had brought the zinc oxide, and they’re like, “Why are we white, and we can’t rub it in?” So I’m like, “Well, sorry, deal with it!” And my kids are all older. They are almost 15, almost 17, and almost 19. So they’re on their own as far as, you know, guys, you’ve got to be responsible, especially my almost-19-year-old. She’s an adult. I’m not going to make sure you have your sunscreen on. I’m going to remind you, like I always do, because the mom part never is gone, but I kept reminding them, “Guys, you’ve got to reapply. You’ve got to reapply.” And that night, I had three lobsters, burned, burned, burned badly.
Alyssa: Is it because they didn’t want to use the zinc oxide?
Cindy: Probably. They said they reapplied, but when you’re in the water, you do need to reapply frequently. It needs to be something that you’re constantly doing. You dry off with a towel; that mechanical action of towel-on-skin pulls off the sunscreen, so it is something that you need to be conscientious of reapplying all day long. Plus, we were outside from 10am till 10pm on the 4th of July, so there were many factors.
Alyssa: Finding some shade in the midst of a long day like that, too, is key.
Cindy: Right, it is key. I myself was sitting under a little umbrella because I don’t like being in the sun, so I’m sitting there watching them all, going, “Guys, sunscreen!”
Alyssa: The sunscreen police in the corner.
Cindy: Yes, exactly.
Alyssa: So what did you do for them after the fact?
Cindy: Thankfully, as many of you know, I have a natural bath and body company called Cindy’s Suds, and so we have a plethora of products at home that I was able to just slather on over and over.
Alyssa: So would you use the healing salve? Is it the best?
Cindy: My top two, and it’s interesting because my kids when they’re burned don’t like the feel of healing salve on their skin because they feel like it makes them greasy. I prefer that feeling when I’m burned, but they do not, so they prefer the unscented body butter. The first ingredient in the unscented body butter is aloe vera gel, so that also would make sense as to why for them they prefer that feel. It’s cooling, and when you put it on, it decreases that skin temperature. So it’s interesting to me because I have always preferred the healing salve, and my kids prefer the unscented body butter. But they’re both amazing, and I was slathering their poor bodies with whichever one we had laying next to them. We probably went through a jar each for each of the kids because they were so badly burned.
Alyssa: That’s literally to the point of blistering and peeling, right?
Cindy: Yeah. Right now, they’re all in the peeling phase. And yeah, we’ve all done it, but it’s something that is so preventable, and that’s what I shake my fist at and be like, “You all know better. You all know better.” I’d much, much rather have you prevent with the sunscreen than to be reactive and now putting on healing salve and body butter because you’ve burned yourself and now you’ve got the consequences of how that feels and what damage it’s done to your skin. So yeah, so the healing salve and body butter are both amazing at clearing up sunburn and helping it to transition to skin that is not so damaged and burned. It decreases the body temperature on the surface because you can just feel that heat radiating from those burns. So either one of those works fabulous, and it’s kind of just more of a personal preference if you like that one feel versus another feel. And regardless, your skin’s going to be absorbing it so quickly because it is so damaged and so burned, so whatever you’re doing, just make sure that you’re repeating and reapplying and keeping that skin covered to try to help that transition of severe burns to getting that skin healthy again.
Alyssa: So moral of our story today is prevention and being proactive.
Alyssa: So for summertime, sun and fun –
Cindy: Just be aware.
Alyssa: Be aware of everything. Cool. Well, I know we’ve told people before how to find you, but what’s your website, and tell us the stores locally that carry your products.
Cindy: So the website is cindysuds.com. We are carried in Harvest Health stores, the Kingma’s stores, Hopscotch, a couple stores in Lowell, Mi Hometown Furnishings and the Lowell Ace Hardware. We’re now carried in Rockford at a new baby store there, Bridge Street Baby. I think that covers the local stores, so yeah, stop in. They carry the majority of our products, and you’re supporting local when you’re purchasing through our local retailers.
Alyssa: I love your stuff. I’m a fan.
Alyssa: So thank you again for coming. We’ll talk to you again soon, and if anyone has questions for us or for Cindy, you can always email us: email@example.com. Find us on our website, www.goldcoastdoulas.com, Facebook, and Instagram, and you can listen to our podcast, Ask the Doulas, on iTunes and Soundcloud. Thanks!
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