12 Fun Facts to Kick Off Your Summer
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Summer Smarts1 of 13
By Paige Brettingen
With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start to summer, you've no doubt got beach days, barbecues and three months of school break on the mind. To help you stay safe and make the most of the season, we've rounded up 12 surprising facts. Read these and get ready for summertime fun time!
Tourist Trips2 of 13
According to Trip Advisor, if you're thinking like the majority of Americans, you've scheduled a trip between June 1 and Aug. 31 to Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas or New York City—the most popular 2014 summer destinations in the nation. If so, plan accordingly.
Protect Yourself3 of 13
About 30 minutes before heading out in the sun, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying 1 oz.—or a shot glass full—of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to ensure you get the full protective benefits. However, studies show that most people only apply half to a quarter of that amount, and therefore, are getting less protection than they think. Make sure you're applying generously and reapplying every two hours. For a full day at the beach, one person should use up one-quarter to one-half of an 8 oz. bottle.
School's Out!4 of 13
When you're a kid, Horace Mann should be your hero. As a parent, you may have more mixed feelings—the education reformer is responsible for three months of summer vacation. In the 1840s, Mann introduced the idea, arguing that overworked minds could lead to insanity and that sitting in hot classrooms could pose health risks. By the turn of the century, summer break had become standard across schools in the U.S.
Kumbaya5 of 13
Summer camp is a tradition that dates to the start of the 20th century. Today, there are more than 12,000 camps in the U.S. One of the priciest? The International Riding Camp in Greenfield Park, New York, where $15,100 will buy you ten weeks of riding instruction as well as trips to New York City and Southampton.
Grill Check6 of 13
As eager as you are to hear those hamburgers sizzle, don't forget to put safety first. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that grill fires are responsible for an average of ten deaths, 100 injuries and $37 million in property loss each year, with more than half of those fires occurring from May to August. The most common problem that leads to accidents? Mechanical failure or malfunction, including leaks or the breaking of pipes. Consult the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's guide for checking and fixing leaks here.
Blockbuster Bucks7 of 13
Need a break from the heat? Air-conditioned movie theaters offer the perfect reprieve, especially with all of those summer blockbusters. The highest-grossing summer film to date? The Avengers, which brought in over $623 million in 2012. With a new X-Men and Transformers opening, along with 22 Jumpstreet, this season's box office looks to be a big one.
Summer Lovin'8 of 13
Facebook released data about relationship status changes from 2010 to 2011, and it turns out there was a large increase in breakups from May to August compared to other months. That could be because Facebook users are seeking that elusive fling experience: "People may feel more free to engage in romantic and sexual experiences if 'on break' from their real life. You can see this anecdotally with spring break and summer romances," says Katherine Sanderson, a psychology professor at Amherst College.
Baby Fever9 of 13
Forget springtime—summer is baby season, historically having the highest birth rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August has had the highest number of births from 1990 to 2012, with the exception of eight times when July took over. Experts cite the weather as a likely reason: When the temperature drops in late fall and indoor, er, activities increase, summertime babies arrive nine months later.
Suit Up10 of 13
Oh, the pressure of putting on a bathing suit for that first outing of the season. According to a survey by MyTime.com, the city that spends the most to get bikini ready (with waxing, tanning, personal training and more) is NYC. Hey, a girl's got to look her best in the Hamptons.
Make a Splash11 of 13
The National Swimming Pool Foundation estimates there are more than 10 million swimming pools across the U.S., with 360,000 public pools open year-round. But the U.S. isn't the world's pool leader. New Zealand's 200,000 swimming pools for its 4 million residents make it the country with the most pools per capita.
Ice, Ice Baby12 of 13
July is a sweet tooth's dream month. In addition to being National Ice Cream Month, the third Sunday of July is also National Ice Cream Day, two occasions made official by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. The nation's most popular flavors? Vanilla, followed by chocolate and pecan, according to a recent survey done by the International Ice Cream Association.
Heat Wave13 of 13
The hottest summer in the U.S. (since records began in 1895) was in 1936 when a sweltering 74.64 degrees was the average daily temperature. The second and third warmest summers were more recent—in 2011 and 2012—with average temperatures of 74.49 and 74.41, respectively. And this year may continue that tradition. The Farmer's Almanac predicts 2014 will be exceptionally hot with "oppressive" humidity. Better sign up for that unlimited pool pass now.