It’s officially summer, so some beach safety tips seem like just what the lifeguard ordered! On the Life Saver Pool Fence blog, we make it our business to promote water safety to all of our readers. After all, everyone should strive to avoid potential drowning hazards and a false sense of security. This counts for the pool and even at the beach.
The sad truth is that a fun trip to the beach can turn disastrous very quickly. If you stay alert and take precautions, you’ll be able to greatly reduce the risk of danger. Below you’ll find some beach safety tips to help keep your visit an enjoyable one.
Beach Safety 101: Be Prepared
When heading to the beach, you’d be surprised at just how much it can help to be prepared. First and foremost, keep hydrated. Being in the heat can really zap your energy. Heatstroke can become a real concern. Packing a source of shade, like an umbrella, can also help.
Next, don’t forget to bring sunscreen. You should apply it, and then reapply it every few hours throughout the day. If you go swimming, reapply your sunscreen immediately after you get out of the water and dry off.
Last, be prepared to always keep an eye out for your kids. Just because it’s a day of relaxation, doesn’t mean you should be any less vigilant. Be proactive and go in the water with your child. Don’t get distracted by that beach read! Sorry relaxation – when you’re by the ocean, beach safety is priority number one.
Swimming: the Buddy System
It is vital for children who are visiting the beach to know how to swim. Swimming competency is the core of pool and beach safety. After all, according to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths for children under 12 years of age.
When your children do go in the ocean, there are a few measures of safety to keep in mind. Coast Guard-approved life vests should always be worn by kids who cannot swim. To be clear, floaties or other floatation devices should never be worn instead.
It is also important to recognize the signs of drowning. We have a special blog post specifically about this topic.
As an added measure, always have your child swim with a buddy. Since a strong current can pull you out to sea quickly and quietly, having someone who always knows where you are is immensely helpful. If your child is young, you or a designated adult should be actively supervising them.
Know the Difference Between the Pool and the Ocean
Before you visit the sandy beaches, you and your children should discuss the differences between the pool and the ocean. Your kids may have already been in a pool, but their experience can be quite different at the beach.
For one, the “floor” is rougher in the ocean. Often, rocks or sharp shells can stick out of the sand under water. The ground is also not as level as in a pool. This means that it can drop out from under you quickly. If that happens, you must be prepared to swim.
In the ocean, you may come across some creatures that you wouldn’t see in your home pool! While sharks are a rare occurrence, a visit from a jellyfish is far more common. Show your children what jellyfish look like and make sure they know to avoid them. This is the case even if the jellyfish are dead, as they can still sting.
Children should be aware that ocean water is not as calm as pool water. Therefore, they should be prepared to face some waves. They should also know how to handle rip currents, just in case.
Beware the Rip Currents
Rip tides are choppy waves that can quickly drag swimmers out to sea. In the event of being caught in a current, swimmers should know to swim in a direction that is parallel to the shore. They should never swim “against” the waves.
Follow the Rules
You should swim only at lifeguard-protected beaches. Pay attention to flags and warning signs that let visitors know about swimming, weather and tide conditions. Children should also learn what these symbols stand for. Above all, everyone should closely follow all instructions from lifeguards.
Finally, your family should establish its own personal beach safety rules. For instance, if you are in the water, please take note of where the rest of the group is stationed on the beach. It’s important to stay near this area when swimming so that everyone can keep an eye on each other.
When you follow these general guidelines, your trip to the sunny beach is sure to be a safe and fun one!