While family beach trips can be fun and relaxing, they also come with risks and unique challenges. If you’re planning a family beach outing, here are eight tips to help make the entire trip safer and more memorable.
Devise a plan
Regardless of the destination, vacations with children can be challenging, so devising a plan is a must. If this is your first family beach trip, consider going to the one nearest to your neighborhood so you can quickly come home for urgent matters. It is also best to choose a beach with a fully-trained lifeguard present, as they can help keep your family safe from beach hazards. Schedule frequent breaks to avoid health problems such as heat stroke, skin cancer, sunburn, dehydration, and hypothermia.
Educate your children
Children are more likely to behave during a family trip if they know what to expect and what’s expected of them. Educate your little ones on the basic safety rules when going to a public place. With plenty of people around, every family member must be mindful of their surroundings. Remind your kids to refrain from talking to strangers, no matter how friendly they seem, and avoid wandering alone. Teach them to always face the ocean so they can see if waves are coming. Since kids are naturally curious, emphasize the importance of not touching marine life when swimming or snorkeling.
Protect your family from the sun
The sun’s harmful rays can cause significant illnesses, especially in children, as their bodies take longer to adjust to a warm environment. Sunscreen can add a layer of protection and reduce the chances of your little ones getting sunburned. Make sure everyone applies sunscreen before heading out to the beach and reapply as often as possible. Aside from sunscreen, you should also bring a beach tent for additional shade, especially on a blistering summer day.
Check the weather conditions
The weather can change in an instant, so preparing beforehand is essential. Before heading out to the beach, check the local weather conditions. If it’s forecasted to have moderate winds or rains, reschedule your beach trip to another day. Remember that more winds mean stronger waves, which is unsuitable and dangerous for swimming, even for skilled swimmers. In the event of an unexpected storm, immediately bring your family to a safe and indoor location, as lighting strikes beaches often.
Know the beach rules
Aside from knowing the weather, you must also learn and educate your family about the basic beach safety guidelines. A flag warning system is utilized on most beaches in the United States. As per the United States Lifesaving Association, some of the essential flags are:
- Red – Several swimming hazards and rough conditions are present, and swimmers are discouraged from continuing.
- Yellow – A yellow flag indicates moderate currents and/or surf. Unskilled swimmers should refrain from entering, while others must exercise extreme caution.
- Double red – The beach is closed. No one should enter, no matter the circumstances.
- Purple – Marine life, such as stingrays, jellyfish, sea snakes, and others that can cause injuries, excluding sharks, are present.
If you plan to go overseas or to a private beach, ask the locals for their beach safety rules.
Wear life jackets
No matter how skilled swimmers your children are, beach accidents can happen anytime. It is highly recommended that everyone, or at least your children wear life jackets when they enter or are near the ocean. Sudden currents and wave changes can cause a person to lose their balance, even if the water is shallow, so they must be well-protected at all times.
Aside from wearing sunscreen, it is also vital that everyone is dressed appropriately. Dress your little ones with modest beachwear or use long-sleeved rash guards to help prevent heat-related ailments. Ensure your kids wear appropriate footwear to protect their feet from harmful elements when walking on hot sand. If you’re taking a baby with you, make sure they wear comfortable cotton clothes covering their arms and legs. Remember to bring a hat and eyeglasses to protect your baby’s face, eyes, and neck.
Avoid drinking alcohol
Alcohol can significantly impede your judgment, even in small amounts. In addition, alcohol consumption accompanied by hot weather can cause severe dehydration. It is critical that you avoid drinking when you’re at the beach, especially when you have children in tow.
Spending a day at the beach is an excellent way to create precious family memories. Take note of these reminders, and always keep your children within your line of sight.