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  • Writer's pictureViv and Michael Diokno

It's all fun and games until . . .

So you booked your summer vacation rental, and now you are checking to see if you need a new bathing suit for the season. You are imagining the perfect summer getaway and thinking of ways to reconnect with your loved ones.

The last thing you are thinking about is what are the most important things we can do to stay safe and healthy on vacation. Let me help with a lil' safety guide for the Outer Banks. Please make sure you discuss the following points below with your family and guests.

1. Look for the crosswalks! In the summer, vacationers are trying to get to the beach. They have the right of way, even the ones that started the day with an Irish Coffee. Yield and stop for all pedestrians and cyclists looking to cross. Slow down and look ahead for all the crosswalks. Also, use the crosswalks especially with little ones. If you are inebriated, do not walk alone or without a sober guide to help you get home. Do not risk a tragic vacation accident just so you can cross the road a little faster.

2. Driving at night can be tough because bicyclists and pedestrians are also enjoying the night air. Please keep your eyes peeled for pedestrians and cyclists. If you decide to walk at night, carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing. Make sure you tell the teenagers to do the same.

3. Bring a helmet if you plan to bicycle around the neighborhood. Yes, you can always buy one down here or maybe rent one (ew!). Save yourself the hassle--pack a helmet. It can double as packing protection for all your baseball caps.

4. Lifeguards are not stationed at every beach access. And even then, they do not start usually until 10 a.m. and depart between 5:30 and 7 p.m. In Southern Shores, lifeguards are stationed at 142 Ocean Boulevard, Chicahauk Trail, E. Dogwood Trail, and Hillcrest Drive.

5. Red Flags on the beach mean DO NOT SWIM OR EVEN WADE. The rip currents in the Outer Banks are the most deceiving and treacherous on the eastern seaboard. Do not take the risk.

6. Need a ramp to get on the beach? In Southern Shores, there are Handicap parking spaces and a ramp at Hillcrest Drive.

7. If you are staying at a house with a swimming pool with babies, toddlers, and kids, make a water safety plan ahead of time. An adult should be assigned to watch and ensure were the children are at all times. Assign a different adult every couple of hours so it's not a burden on one person. The adult in charge should not be distracted by mobile devices, other screens, or alcoholic beverages. Keep windows, doors, and gates that access the pool area closed at all times--babies and toddlers are agile climbers. Look behind you to make sure doors and gates latched correctly. Keep the pool deck clear of hoses, towels, toys, and other things that cause tripping hazards. Floatation devices are not safe because kids can drown underneath and people will not notice until its too late.

8. Only use plastic or paper cups and plates near the pool area.

9. Walking barefoot is not fun on boiling asphalt, hot sand, and in the grass where spiky burs grow. Wear sandals or flip-flops.

10. ring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, bug spray, and fly swatters (depends on the winds when the flies come on the beach).

11. Someone is sick and needs medication? In Southern Shores, the closest pharmacies are Walgreens and CVS.

12. Need medical attention? The Kitty Hawk Urgent Care is open daily and is staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The Outer Banks Hospital is in Nags Head and is open 24 hours. People with life-threatening injuries will be transported off the island.

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