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Outdoor Tips: Beach Safety For The Whole Family

Each year, many families make trips to the beach part of their summer activities. Soaking up some sun and playing in the water can make for a relaxing beach trip. When planning a trip to the beach with the family, keeping everyone safe should be a top priority. While a beach day can be lots of fun, it can also pose some dangers so it is necessary to practice water and sun safety. A trip to the beach can be safe and enjoyable for the whole family as long as some simple precautions are taken.

Water Safety at the Beach

Water by far poses the biggest threat when it comes to the beach. Kids are often tempted to run straight to the water on a hot summer day so it may be necessary to establish some safety rules prior to arrival. Children should always be supervised when in the water, with smaller children wearing safety devices such as life jackets. Children should only be in the water if they know how to swim. When taking the family to the beach, stick with an area that is supervised by qualified lifeguards. Ocean conditions can change quickly leading to potential dangers. Beach goers need to understand that wind will generate waves and the stronger the wind, the stronger the waves that are generated. Big waves can easily knock down a child so parents should pay attention to weather conditions to help gauge water safety. Ocean beaches in the United States use a warning system to provide visitors with information on water conditions.

  • Red Flag - A red flag indicates dangerous water conditions. Swimmers should stay very close to the shoreline and be prepared to exit the water quickly.
  • Double Red Flag - Double red flags indicate dangerous water conditions and serve as a warning to swimmers that they should not enter the water.
  • Yellow Flag - A yellow flag serves to indicate moderate water conditions. Usually stronger swimmers can handle swimming in a yellow flag area.
  • Green Flag - A green flag indicates that there are mild water conditions and the water should be safe for all swimmers. Green flag areas are ideal for family visits to the beach.

The flag system can be helpful for evaluating the safety level of water but they are not always present. If you are unsure of water conditions, it is best to ask one of the lifeguards on duty if the water conditions are appropriate for younger swimmers. One particular thing people may want to inquire about is rip currents. Rip currents are powerful currents of water that can easily pull even the strongest swimmers away from shore. Rip currents account for a very high percentage of beach lifeguard rescues.

Depending on the location of the beach, there may be animals such as jellyfish, stingrays, and other ocean creatures. Knowing what animals can be found in the area and how to stay safe can give you some peace of mind when traveling to a beach known for being home to such creatures. While lifeguards can help in an emergency, it might be a good idea to pack a first aid kit for your trip to the beach, especially those that have playgrounds on site which can increase the possibility of minor injuries.

Sun Safety at the Beach

It can be great to spend a day in the warm sun as long as safety precautions are taken. Sunblock should be reapplied as necessary to keep skin from burning. If you will be spending time in and out of the water, there are several waterproof sun block products available. It is important however to keep in mind that even waterproof sun block should be reapplied as necessary to avoid burns. In addition to sun block, hats and other items can be used to provide some shade. Families may want to consider packing a beach umbrella to provide some relief from the sun.

A family trip to the beach can provide hours of enjoyment and relaxation. When simple steps are taken to ensure safety, a trip to the beach is a great activity for the entire family. Keep reading for more beach safety information.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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