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Going to the beach is a great way for a family to spend the day but beaches can be hazardous too. Here are our top tips to keeping safe on the coast this year.
We all hope for sunny, calm weather but this isn’t always the case! Strong winds create potential dangers to people swimming in the sea.
Rips are strong currents that can whisk swimmers from shallow waters to more dangerous depths. Mainly found around piers and man made structures, so it is a sensible idea to discourage children from swimming there. Keep an eye on tides and waves, if you notice the waves getting bigger and keep children out of the sea until it appears calmer.
Keep the children topped up with sun cream and put sun hats and sun glasses on them too. Reapply sun cream throughout the day and take a beach shelter along for littlies. It comes in handy for feeding time and serves as a dressing area.
Kids naturally want to explore. It’s wise to make them water wise before they go off swimming, snorkelling or even just paddling!
Teach them to be aware of other people in the sea, to look out for boats coming into shore as they maynot see you – especially if you’re under water! Small children should be accompanied by an adult and older children taught to have a friend on watch so that they stay safe.
Beach sand is a child’s delight! Unfortunately it can also be deadly as it hides a lot of litter and sharp objects!
Check the area you are going to sit in before you set up camp to ensure there are no immediate dangers lurking under the surface. Beach shoes like flipflops or surf shoes are a great idea for children to protect their feet not only from the heat of the sand but also when they decide they’re going on the rocks to catch fish! The rocks are a big attraction for children but often slippery and jagged and having rubber soled shoes on helps keep them from falling.
We’d advise taking a first aid kit with you so you can treat any injuries immediately. Stock up on bottles of water. Not only to keep you and your family hydrated, but to clean wounds or rinse eyes should sand get in them. These are just a few handy items that could come in very useful throughout your day at the beach!
Sea creatures and animals
It’s great to explore marine life and you’ll find lots of creatures that kids can look at in rock pools and on the shore, but there are some dangerous ones too!
Jellyfish, blue bottles, rays, certain starfish, puffer fish and sea urchins are all dangerous when not handled correctly but they’re colourful which makes children want to pick them up.
Most Blue Flag beaches in the United Kingdom have lifeguards on duty.
They place flags on the beach to indicate the conditions and the areas you are safe to swim in. It’s wise to teach your children the flag codes so they can stay safe too.
- Red and yellow flags indicate the lifeguard area. This means children are safe to swim in the sea, as well as use inflatables and body boards.
- Black and white chequered flags is for surfers and kayaks along with other non powered craft. You should never swim in an area with this flag.
- Orange windsocks indicate offshore or strong winds, so you should never use inflatables when the sock is flying.
- A red flag means danger! Never go swimming in the water when the red flag is up, regardless of the circumstances.
Beaches always have other people on them.
Most are other friendly families out for a good day but every now and then there are those who pose a threat to children. Keep your eyes open and make sure you know where your youngsters are and have safety rules for them. Ensure that they can easily identify your spot on the sand by a colourful umbrella or tent and check out any adults that approach them. Positioning yourself where you can see them is wise.
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