Parents should explain the dangers of the beach and ocean to their children. In addition to providing a much-needed reprieve from the pressures of work, school, sports practices, piano lessons, and other responsibilities, a day at the beach or an entire beach vacation can lull people into an illusion of stability.
If you and your family aren’t prepared, you should be aware of the actual dangers at the beach. There is a lot of anxiety about drowning in the U.S., especially for children under five.
For every unintentional drowning death reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a youngster under the age of 14 is responsible for one in five. 5 children are treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal submersion injuries for every child that drowns.
There are still considerable risks at the beach, although most drownings occur in swimming pools. In the following sections, you’ll find advice on how to prepare your family for a day at the beach and how to keep safe while you’re there.
If you plan a beach day, vacation, or simply live near the water, it is a good idea to talk to your children about what being safe means at the beach before you go. In this manner, you have a better chance of capturing their full attention.
You run the danger of losing their attention if you wait until they put their feet in the sand before discussing your expectations and guidelines.
1. Refresh Your Swimming Techniques
Swimming in a pool is significantly different from swimming in the ocean. In reality, swimming in the ocean requires far more skill and physical exertion than swimming in a community or backyard pool. In addition, the water is murky and teeming with aquatic life, and there are no ladders or concrete ledges to hold onto for support.
This is why many young children struggle to swim in the water. Waves that sway them and make it difficult to see the bottom may also be intimidating to them.
It is important to prepare your youngster for these differences if this is their first time at the beach. Take a few pre-swimming survival lessons, especially if you have little children.
When they are too far out to go to shore, teaching kids how to float on their backs can be a lifesaver. Instead of wasting energy going nowhere, they’re giving adults more time to find them by letting them float.
2. Buy a life jacket
A U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket is an excellent investment if you have young children. Despite being right in front of your children, it is easy to get distracted or for your child to stray into the water while you are looking away.
It’s safe to say that a life jacket is an essential piece of beach gear. If this is your child’s first time wearing a life jacket, make sure to have them try it on in the pool before heading to the beach.
3. Ocean currents should be discussed.
While at the beach, you may encounter one of two types of currents. Some of these currents include rip currents and longshore ones that travel down the coast. You’ll find yourself drifting along the beach as the waves come in due to the longshore currents. Children should be taught about ocean currents so that they don’t get carried away while playing in the water and end up 10 feet away from where they started.
4. Choose Beaches with Lifeguards.
The greatest method to keep your family safe at the beach is to stick to areas where there are lifeguards. According to one study, the risk of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is about five times larger than the risk of drowning at a beach with lifeguards.
Asking for permission is a skill that should be taught to children. When you’re not paying attention, small children will go toward the water. Disaster can strike in the time it takes to put on sunscreen or respond to a text.
As a result, teach your children that they must first ask you or your partner before entering the water. Your beach safety strategy can benefit from the addition of this rule.
5. Keeping Yourself Safe While Visiting the Beach
When you and your family arrive to enjoy some time in the sun and sand, the allure of the water may be too much to handle. Asking your children to repeat back what they heard you say may be necessary if they don’t seem to be paying attention when you are reinforcing any rules or expectations. However, if you’ve previously prepped them, much of what you have to say will be redundant.
6. Start with a broad view of the situation.
As soon as they get to the beach, many children want to dive immediately. However, it’s a good idea to do some preliminary research. Find out where the lifeguards are stationed and whether any water warnings are posted in the beach area. In addition, keep an eye out for the swells. Even with large waves, the ocean can appear tranquil. Get a sense of how big and powerful the waves are.
7. Remind Children About Sea Currents
Even if you’ve already discussed ocean currents with your children, reviewing their knowledge of rip currents with them is a good idea. As long as you don’t know what you’re doing, even the best swimmers can be swept out to sea by rip currents.
8. Boundaries need to be established.
Longshore currents can slowly carry children down the beach, so it’s a good idea to set rules for your kids when they’re playing in the ocean, like staying between two spots.
Middle school and adolescent swimmers will appreciate this feature the most. You should also decide how far your children are allowed to roam. Your decision should be based on how well your youngster can swim and how high and forceful the waves are.
9. Make Use of the System of Buddies
You should never go swimming alone. Because of this, you should urge your children to go swimming with a friend. In the eyes of small children, you are unquestionably the best friend. Your partner or other adults in your group can take turns relaxing, so everyone gets a chance.
10. Remember Your Role.
It may be easy to close your eyes and fall asleep, but you should keep a watch on your children, even if they are teenagers or tweens. Also, watch out for your kids.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to join them while they splash around in the ocean. As long as your child is close, you may be able to sit on the edge of the water. Take turns minding the kids if you’re at the beach with your husband or significant other. Never put your children’s safety in the hands of lifeguards.
11. Wearing sunscreen and drinking water are essential for staying healthy under the sun.
Beach days may rapidly devolve into a nightmare if you don’t take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both your children and yourself. Choose broad-spectrum sunscreen or clothing that covers the entire body to protect yourself and your loved ones from harmful U.V. rays.
Your family can enjoy the beach safely if you take a few measures. Keep the lines of communication open and make necessary adjustments to the situation. The lifeguards and other signs and postings should also be followed.