Advice for trips to the Beach with Kids
There is somehting about being outdoors, especially the beach. It sooths the soul and calms the nerves. A beach getaway with kids can be a summer highlight. It also has many opportunities for trouble and distress. General tips can reduce exposing children to danger. It’s important to explain to children that the ocean is alive. The waves are constantly pulling and pushing, and not far away is an underwater world of sea animals.
Being Safe in the Waves
Rip Currents are strong and narrow, flowing away from the beach through the surf, pulling swimmers into the ocean. A rip tide can be identified by a break in the pattern of waves, sometimes leaving lines of seaweed or foam towards the sea. They are also visible as choppy waves with perhaps a change in the color of water. Children should only play in the waves when lifeguards are present. Most importantly, kids must know not to panic or resist the pull of the rip current. They should either float or swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Rip currents appear mostly near piers or low spots on the beach.
Wildlife is an unlikely source of problems, but still should be discussed with children. A shark attack is highly improbable, but it has happened. A painful encounter with jellyfish or sea urchins would be more likely. Something common in southern California are sting ray wounds. They hurt! Make sure to research what is common to the beach of your destination for the best talks with your kids.
Swimming in the ocean can be a hazard, yet that may be difficult to impress upon a young, strong swimmer. Children need to know to stay away from structures like piers and jetties, as rip currents tend to occur there or waves can push swimmers onto these hard surfaces. Parents should also be aware of high winds that can affect the size and force of waves. Big waves can knock children to the ocean floor, which can be covered with rocks, causing injuries. It’s always best to be near a lifeguard when children are in the water.
Sunburn can ruin a beach getaway with kids. There are several general tips regarding protection from the sun and heat: apply sunscreen before and during exposure to the sun, take a large umbrella to sit under, wear sunglasses, and drink water to avoid dehydration.
While all of those are important, its also a time to have fun!! Make sure you bring lots of snacks and water or juice, playing in the sun and water is hard work! A great last tip is to plan your exit. Give your children a warning of when you will be leaving so that you can start packing up and leaving without a tantrum.
Here are tips on staying safe in the heat.
Have fun and stay safe!