Safety Beach Holidays
Everyone, it seems, loves a trip to the beach. But whether you're there for a day, a week, or even a year, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you remember your visit with pleasure, rather than pain and to ensure beach safety.
In The WaterFind out the times of high and low tides by asking the lifeguard if there are no signs to tell you that, and keep an eye on your children. All too often they'll go exploring and find themselves trapped as the water sweeps in suddenly and check out where the lifeguard station is as well as observing any signs.
Before You ArriveThe summer sun is fierce. Make sure you have plenty of sun cream or sun block with you, and use it liberally. That's especially important if you have children, since their skin burns easily - and make sure they wear a hat to cover their scalps. Buy at least a sun cream which has an SPF 15 (higher is better), and preferably a brand that doesn't wash off in the water. If you're the type of person who turns red rather than tans, wear a hat too, and keep your body covered. Pack a sun umbrella, if you have one, and sit under it. You'll still enjoy the sand and the sea air at the beach, and it's much better than days of peeling and painful sunburn.
On The BeachChildren have a habit of wandering away whilst their parents are doing other things. If that happens, inform the lifeguard immediately. He can tell the police and patrols. Search with an organised plan, and leave one person where you were in case the child returns.
If the kids do go to buy an ice cream, make sure they know exactly where you are; you could try fixing a flag or scarf to your windbreak/shelter. Remind them, too, that road safety rules apply just as much at the seaside as at home - maybe even more so, with distracted drivers around.
Kids like to play in the sand and sometimes this can involve digging a big hole and burying one another in it. It might seem like fun but there have been many serious accidents involving this type of activity. Stop your kids burying one another above waist height.
Keep plenty of fluids, especially water, on hand. It's very easy to become dehydrated without even realising it when you're in the sun for a while.
After a few lazy hours on the beach, stretching your legs can seem like a good idea, and those spectacular cliff top views might seem enticing. Once you're up there, though, keep to the paths, stay away from the edge, and keep children under control. One slip can easily lead to a horrific, deadly tumble.
If the kids are going to take a dip in the sea, have them stay very close to the shore. Always supervise them in the water, as many beaches have potentially lethal undertows and tides that can drag a young one out to sea before you know it. Be alert and know where the people in your party are at all times.
Only swim between the red and yellow flags put up by the lifeguard at the beach - those are the safe areas. Don't venture too far out, as it's all too easy to find yourself beyond your depth, to get caught up in tides and to start panicking. By staying inshore you'll also avoid speed boats and water skiers, a menace to swimmers.
Tempting as it is, never take inflatable rafts into the sea; they can be carried off by the waves, with you, or someone you love, on them. Always, at all times, obey the lifeguards. They're there to protect you and to ensure beach safety.
Should you be stung by a jellyfish, don't worry too much. In most places the worst you'll suffer is some pain. Get out of the water; wash the affected area with salt water - never fresh! Then carefully remove the stings from the flesh. If you can, douse the wound with white vinegar, take some acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and rest for a while. In the pain continues or you have an adverse reaction, seek medical help immediately.
If you're in an area that has sharks and an alert sounds, make sure you - and everyone with you - leave the water in a quick but orderly manner. Panicking won't help anyone!
When The Day is DoneIt might seem obvious, but before you head back to your car, make sure you have everything with you. The last thing you want is to trudge back and try to find your spot. A quick "idiot check" can eliminate that.
Don't expect to go anywhere quickly. You're one of many visitors, all with the idea of going home. The roads are going to be clogged, and traffic will be slow. Annoyance and frustration won't make the cars go any faster; the only thing you'll do is raise your blood pressure. Just relax and take your time and you'll make it home with plenty of pleasant memories.