Ready to Hit the Beach? 9 Tips for A Safe Day
It’s beach season and parents should keep in mind some steps that will keep their children safe when in or near the ocean. While most adults worry about their children being at risk in pools, a large number of drowning incidents also happen in lakes, rivers, and oceans. According to the Center for Disease Control, around 10 people drown on a daily basis, 2 of which are expected to be below the age of 14. The drowning rate for African-Americans is much higher than those of whites. African American children from ages 5 to 14 are 3 times more likely to drown than white children in the same age range. Those rates likely due to the fact that approximately 70% of African American children do not know how to swim. Closing the swim gap means teaching our children how to swim as early as possible and helping them to be cautious in any body of water, including the ocean. The United States Swim School Association offers parents these great 9 tips to keep children and themselves safe during a trip to the beach.
- Create a beach plan with your children – There are a few entrances to the beach, choose one to have your kids meet you at in case you get separated. Introduce your child to the lifeguard located in the area where your kids will be swimming, and have them check in with you every 30 minutes at least.
- Pay close attention to your children – Even though there are lifeguards, the ocean is much larger than a pool and the water is much stronger.
- Swim in the view of a lifeguard – Teach your children to swim in front of the lifeguard station, most drowning’s occur at an unguarded beach. Also the currents will naturally push you down the shore, have a landmark such as the lifeguard station and return to that spot.
- Be aware of ocean conditions – Pay attention to the colored flags located near the lifeguard. They will tell you if the water is dangerous, moderately rough or calm and they will also tell you if there is any aquatic life in the swimming area (jellyfish, sharks, etc.).
- Enter the water feet first – Do not dive into the ocean, test the depth before swimming. Doing this can help prevent serious neck or head injury.
- Rip currents – They are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water than can move at speeds of up to eight feet per second. Teach your children about rip currents and how to swim out of them. The best thing to do when caught in a rip current is not to panic, swim parallel to the shoreline until you are out of the current, then swim diagonally back to shore.
- Be aware of your surroundings – Teach children the signs of a swimmer who might need help or is having difficulty staying afloat.
- Wear a life jacket – the ocean is a strong force and can even be difficult for the best swimmers. As extra safety, wear a life jacket to help stay afloat and above the surface of the ocean.
- Pay attention to weather conditions – Never swim when lightning is present. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder boom before heading back out to the sand.
Swimming lessons are a great addition to help keep your child safer while swimming in the ocean. To find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, or for details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization visit: www.usswimschools.org.
About US Swim School Association
US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. USSSA has partnered with Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation for its official water safety program. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org.
Center for Disease Control Factsheet – http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html