# Sunscreens

Weekend open thread: summer safety edition

This thread is for anything political or non-political on your mind this weekend. A few safety-related stories caught my attention.

There was a terrible tragedy in Pella as two teenage boys who couldn’t swim drowned during a summer camp outing at the Pella Aquatic Center. Here’s more on one of the boys. The drownings happened in the evening, and the underwater lights in the deep end of the pool hadn’t been working. A lawsuit is pending on that. In addition, the camp organizers didn’t bring waivers to the pool for the party. If they had, someone might have realized that the parents had noted on the waivers that their boys could not swim.

On a related note, “drowning doesn’t look like drowning.” Also, you should always wear flotation devices when boating or working near cold water, even if you think you are a good swimmer.

The New York Times’ room for debate blog ran a good post earlier this month about “what we still don’t know about sunscreens.” It’s confusing to navigate this territory as a parent, because while sunburns can cause real and long-term damage, sunscreens somewhat reduce the amount of vitamin D our bodies produce. I have mostly kept my kids out of the sun during the intense hours of the day and let them play outside for long stretches after 4 pm. Sunscreen isn’t recommended for young babies, so it’s better to keep them out of the sun or covered up if you absolutely need to be outside during the prime hours for sunburns. The Mayo Clinic posts these guidelines for sunscreen use.

The Environmental Working Group’s online database on sunscreen safety and effectiveness is an excellent resource.

The floor is yours.

UPDATE: Democratic candidate Chris Hall (Iowa House district 2 in Sioux City) was out door-knocking today when the heat index was 104. Stay hydrated, hard-working Dems!