With summer just around the corner, many of us will be lucky enough to spend some free time lounging on the beach. Although the beach is usually laid back and relaxing, it is important to take the proper precautions before and during your visit to ensure a pleasant beach trip. Let’s look at some tips for beach safety.
Pack a proper beach bag
Dehydration, sun burns and UV rays are all serious dangers at the beach. Plan ahead by bringing lots of water, sun screen and sunglasses to protect yourself. If you have fair skin, it might be a good idea to bring an umbrella to give yourself a break from the sun.
Drink lots of water at the beach, when dehydrated you run a risk of cramping up which is a serious danger when swimming out in the ocean. Avoid drinking alcohol because it can lead to dehydration fairly quickly.
Keep an Eye on the Tide
Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents. Keep your eye on a landmark along the shore to avoid being swept away. If you do feel yourself caught in a current, swim parallel to the shore until you are free.
Pay Attention to the Water Quality
It’s a good idea to find out what the water quality is before you go in because the results of poor water quality are gastrointestinal distress, ear infections, and occasionally more serious problems. Most beaches test their waters infrequently, so it is best to rely on yourself rather than signs. If something looks off, it might be best to avoid the water.
Be Wary of Marine Life
Take into consideration where you are swimming and always be aware of your surroundings. Animals such as jellyfish will swim right next to humans and can cause harm. If you are in a heavily populated shark area, keep an eye out and always get out of the water if a life guard says to.
Beach Safety Tips for Parents
It’s important to follow the above beach safety tips to protect yourself and make sure you have a great day at the beach. If you’re going to the beach with kids, it’s even more important that you have an arsenal of safety tips at your disposal.
Keeping kids safe at the beach can be a real challenge because kids often do not understand what kind of danger they may be in. And why should they? Kids are at the beach to have a good time, and that’s exactly what they should do. A few basic tips for kids to follow, and vigilance on the part of mom and dad, can make sure everyone has a fun and safe time.
Have a Higher Standard for Water Safety
Just because the waves aren’t too rough for you doesn’t mean they won’t be too rough for your kids. Remember that you not only have to keep yourself in control in the water, but make sure you have control of your kids, too. A rough wave could easily sweep a child into deeper waters if you’re not careful. If you have any doubt about the strength of the current, stay at the edge of the water with your kids.
Don’t Forget That Sunscreen
For kids, the sunscreen ritual is torture. All they want to do is run out into the sand and play, and there you are, forcing them to stand still while you slather or spray them with gooey sun protectant lotion. If you can, make it a habit of putting the sunscreen on before or as soon as your kids get out of the car – or even before you leave your house. Once they get going, it will be even harder to get them to submit to the sunscreen ritual, and even a few minutes without protection can have very damaging consequences for a child’s sensitive skin.
Introduce Yourself to the Lifeguards
Here’s a tip you might not consider, but it’s one that can really come in handy. Young as they may be, lifeguards are trained professionals who know the water and the beach where they are assigned.
Not only can a friendly conversation with the nearest lifeguard clue you into any special hazards or features of the beach to look out for, but it also just might get them to pay special attention to you and your children while you’re out there in the sand and surf.
Keep a Lookout for Warning Flags and Know What They Mean
All beaches have warning flags that they fly to alert beachgoers of potential dangers. Keep an eye out for these flags prominently displayed when you arrive. Also be aware that they may mean different things at different beaches. If you see one, you should look for a posted key somewhere to let you know what the warning is all about.
Common beach flag meanings include:
- Red – Strong tides
- Yellow – Rougher but not necessarily dangerous waters
- Green – Calm seas
- Blue – Dangerous marine life like jellyfish or sharks may have been spotted in the area
Teach Your Children to Swim as Early as Possible
It’s almost never too early to teach your kids to swim. And the sooner they learn, the more quickly they are likely to pick it up and the better swimmers they will probably be. A little swimming knowledge could make all the difference in a hazardous beach situation. Some water wings or another type of flotation device for your kids, especially younger ones, couldn’t hurt either.
It should go without saying that if you plan to take your children into the ocean, you or another accompanying adult must have at least some basic swimming skills.
Many beaches don’t allow you to bring alcohol, but even if they do, you need to stay sharp when you have kids on the beach. The dehydrating influence of the sun can make the debilitating and inebriating effects of alcohol work even faster, so even one or two casual beers could slow your reaction time in a way that can make it difficult to respond quickly if one of your kids gets into danger.
Follow these rules and use common sense when hanging out with your little ones on the sand and in the surf and you should all have a great, safe and memorable time at the beach!