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Top Ten Tips For Family Beach Safety

Posted by Jody on November 8, 2011

Family Time on Galveston Island, Texas (©Jody Diehl)

Going to the beach with the family should be a super fun and safe time for everyone!  Knowing the Top Ten Tips for Family Beach Safety helps alleviate most of the fuss and muss and turn  potentially stressful times into fun days the family will always remember fondly.

We’ve watched a TV show that followed surf lifesavers on a number of Australia’s beaches.   It seemed that many of the scenes showed the patrol looking for lost children!   According to an article at AquaticSafetyGroup.com: “Water safety experts agree that the #1 problem at beaches is lost children. Lost children not only create water safety worries but child abduction concerns as well. To protect your children, establish a beach plan. Know where you entered the beach, where you will place your blanket and where you will meet if and when you become separated.” (Tip#4: Lost Children)

Tom Griffiths of Aquatics Research Safety Group compiled a  fabulous list with practical information for the “Top Ten Tips for Improving Family Beach Safety and Enjoyment“.

Here’s the roundup of the remaining Tips for Family Beach Safety and a slice of the info available with each Family Beach Safety Tip:

#1: WIND, WAVES, CURRENT – “The stronger the wind, the stronger the waves. Taller, more frequent waves mean stronger currents pulling swimmers away from the beach. …When in Doubt, Don’t go Out!”

#2: NEVER SWIM ALONE: “IF YOU’RE MORE THAN AN ARMS LENGTH AWAY, YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR!” – “Swimming alone in the ocean can often be unsafe. Whenever venturing into the water, make every attempt to swim with another proficient swimmer.” This rule is of the utmost importance for novice swimmers and children.  Be sure to have a stronger, more proficient swimmer by your side!

#3: NO DIVING OR HEAD-FIRST ENTRIES – “Two-thirds of all catastrophic neck injuries (apx. 800 annually) occur in open-water areas, not swimming pools. …Feet-first is the only safe way for you and your kids.”

#5: CLOSE, ACTIVE SUPERVISION – “If more than one adult is in attendance at the beach, take turns being the “Designated Kid Watcher” where this person only watches the children and is not allowed to read, sleep or perform other distracting tasks. Remember, it only takes seconds to drown.” The shoreline is the place for active supervision of children.

Family Time on Galveston Island, Texas (©Jody Diehl)

#6: LEARN HOW TO SWIM /WEAR A LIFEJACKET – THEY FLOAT, YOU DON’T!

#7: RIP CURRENTS – “Ask about rip currents at your beach. If rips are present, don’t go in the water. If unexpectedly caught in a rip, don’t panic. Breathe deep and gently swim parallel to shore. Don’t fight the current – it will wear you out!”

#8: TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS – “Don’t allow your family to just sit on the beach or stay in the water all day long. Fatigue, sunburn, hypothermia (exposure to cold), heat exhaustion and heat stroke can all become problems.”

#9: LOOK BUT DON’T TOUCH – “Many birds, turtles and marine life forms often wash up on beaches. When this happens, do not get too close and above all, do not touch the organism. You may hurt the creature or it may hurt you!”

#10: FOLLOW YOUR FLAGS, CHECK THE CONDITIONS OF THE BEACH – Beaches have differing flag warning systems. What you’ll find on Chicago’s lakefront beaches will be different from the flag warning system on Florida’s ocean and gulf beaches.  Learn flag warning system colors and their meanings for the beaches you visit.

Be sure to discuss all of the “Top Ten Tips For Improving Family Beach Safety and Enjoyment” (and your expectations) with children and family before heading to the beach.  That way everyone will Know Before They Go!

Have a safe and fun day at the beach!

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