Summertime for many means trips to the beach, especially for those who live in coastal regions. With so many people visiting the various beaches, there are bound to be safety concerns that we, as parents, must be aware of in order to help our family enjoy their time at the beach.
Whether you are planning a full day visit, a weekend visit, or just want a couple hours of sun, there are ways to make the visit go smoothly.
Start by having a bag with basic essentials ready to go. Keep things like beach toys, sun block, a good book, and towels in it but make sure it is big enough to add things as you go.
Keeping an ice pack in the freezer comes in handy to keep water bottles cold whether you decide to bring a cooler or just toss some water bottles into your beach bag. Don’t forget your sunglasses or wide brimmed hats!
Make sure you have life jackets or vests for your young or inexperienced swimmers that are US Coastguard approved. Check local weather conditions for rip tides, undertow currents, and general swimming conditions for ocean beaches.
The same rule applies to the Great Lakes beaches as Lake Michigan is known for rip tides and dangerous undertow currents.
Whether at the ocean, a Great Lake, or an inland lake, remember to only swim in designated swimming areas. Random “swimming holes” may look inviting on a hot summer day, but standing water can contain leeches and bacteria leading to swimmer’s itch.
Due to the dangers of rip currents at the ocean, the Coastguard recommends swimming only at beaches with designated lifeguards on duty.
While at the beach make certain to maintain constant eye contact with everyone you brought with you. It is easy to wander down the beach without realizing it while playing in the water, and kids tend to forget to make sure they can see their parents when they are having so much fun.
Avoid distractions like the phone, unless of course you are snapping pictures of their fun! Never let the kids swim alone; make sure they have a swim buddy. If one of the kids becomes missing, always check the water first.
Remember to drink plenty of water, and make sure the kids drink plenty as well. There are peak times that the sun is hotter than usual, generally between 11am and 3pm; these times you should consider limiting how much sun you get or making certain an effective sunblock is used and reapplied as needed.
The most important thing to remember about the beach though is to have fun!