Many families venture to our local beaches over summer vacation. Summertime brings lots of fun in the sand and surf for families to splash, play, or just relax. It’s important to think ahead and take extra safety precautions to prevent problems and be ready for any situation.

While a trip to the ocean can be exciting and memorable, kids and parents must follow some important safety rules so the day at the beach is filled with fun, not panic. Remember those days before kids when we could go to the beach and enjoy a nice book or take a nap. Well those days are over.

When we go to the beach with our kids or grandkids, we are the first and most important line of defense when it comes to their safety. If your child is near the water, you need to be near the water too. We all know how quickly a small child can go from wetting his or her toes to being knocked over and washed out with a surprise wave. A 10-second glance away could be all it takes. If you have ever lost your kids for a moment on the beach, you know how terrifying it can be.

Remind kids who are old enough that if they wander or get lost, they should go to the nearest lifeguard and just wait there.  If you report your kid lost on one beach, the guards wll radio each other to locate them at another beach. Another idea, put all your kids in the same color neon rash guard so you can pick them out among all the bobbing heads in the water.

Here are six beach safety tips for your kids.

  • 1

    The Ocean is Not the Same as the Pool

    Your kids may swim well in the pool, but the ocean surf is trickier to navigate than the backyard pool. You must make sure there is a lifeguard on duty before getting your kids in the ocean. And if possible, have very young kids or kids who can’t swim wear a coast-guard approved life-jacket when near the turf. This is not the time to be lax on safety.

     

  • 2

    Keep Watch for Rip Currents

    Always swim parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current. If your kids cannot swim, let them know to float or tread water until out of the current. Once you’re free of the current you can head back towards the shore.

     

  • 3

    Protect Yourself and Kids from the Sun

    The glare from the surf and sand can make the sun stronger at the shore. Be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply after swimming or every 90 minutes. Wear a hat and protective clothing and stay in the shade.  

  • 4

    Drink, Drink and Drink Water

    Make sure your kids are staying hydrated. The sun and surf can be dehydrating. If your children don’t like to drink water, consider electrolyte drinks or mixing juice with water.

     

  • 5

    Buddy Up

    Your children should be in the water with you unless they’re older. In that case, having a buddy system in the water will  help your kids as they head for the ocean.

  • 6

    Check With the Lifeguards

    Ask the lifeguards where the safest areas to swim are at the beach. They should be knowledgeable about any areas to avoid.