A day at the beach is considered a top family summer activity. While a day at the beach offers the maximum for fun, it also has a potential for disaster. According to the Center for Disease Control, each year about 4,000 people drown in the United States. Drowning kills more children 1-4 years of age than anything else, except birth defects. Among children ages one through fourteen, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death (after motor vehicle crashes). We want you to stay safe while you’re at the beach. Being aware of the risks and learning some life saving techniques will keep you safe at the beach. Our helpful 7 beach safety tips will help you stay incident-free.
Tip #1 Pay Close Attention to Children When at the Beach
In the perfect world, every child would have a designated adult supervising them at the beach or pool. Two children is a comfortable number for one adult to supervise. Any more can become overwhelming and increase the risk of something going wrong.
Know your limitations and educate yourself on riptides. While you are on child watch duty turn the cell phone off, and keep the IPad/tablet or book out of your reach.
Tip #2 Wear a Life Jacket
Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and the around water. No one should use any other type of floatation device unless they are able to swim. Outfit your child with bright colored beachwear.
Tip #3 Watch for Signs of Distress
Drowning doesn’t look like you imagine. In the movies, when someone is acting out a drowning scene they wave their arms and scream for help. In real life, drowning is, for the most part, a silent act. Once a person goes into distress mode, they are fighting for two things: air and keeping their mouth above water.
Tip #4 Set Up by a Lifeguard
Set up your stuff near a lifeguard station so that if you venture into the water with your children there is an extra set of eyes to watch over you and your child. Don’t allow this to replace your diligence but rather supplement it. Your child is your first responsibility.
Check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards. Lifeguards work continually to identify hazards that might affect you. They can advise you on the safest place to swim, as well as places to avoid. They want you to have a safe day. Talk to them when you first arrive at the beach and ask them for their advice.
Tip #5 Keep a Lookout for Aquatic Life
Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Each summer, we hear of at least one horrific shark attack at the beach and several other non-fatal attacks. But shark attacks are actually rather rare. In fact, worldwide there is an average of only 50 to 70 shark attacks every year.
Another aquatic animal that is found in every ocean is the jelly fish. Generally you’ll want to avoid any and all jelly fish. However, jelly fish stings tend to be annoyances rather than life-threatening events. Teach children to avoid patches of plants and to leave animals alone.
Tip #6 Don’t Let Your Attention Wander
Going to the beach or pool is a social event. Don’t get caught up in a conversation. Keep your eyes on your child. Accidents can occur very quickly and with a mix of children and water, seconds matter. Keep your hands glued to your babies or toddlers at all times. If at the beach, keep an eye out for rouge waves. Ankle deep water can quickly become a hazard if you are not paying attention. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing.
Tip #7 Learn CPR and Rescue Breathing
Your local fire, police, recreation department or gym and health club often sponsor certified CPR courses. You will not realize its value until you need it! In the time it might take for lifeguards or paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
Every parent needs to keep these 7 beach safety tips in mind. Have fun this summer at the beach but stay safe.