Beach and Swimming Safety Can Save Lives – Tips for Parents and Other Child Care Providers

  • Sumo

Many families like to spend their weekends and free time at the beach. Unfortunately, a fun day at the beach can quickly turn into a nightmare for Jacksonville parents. From the burning hot sun and jellyfish stings to the deadly rip currents, the beach can be a scary place. However, most of these lurking dangers can be avoided if parents know what to look out for. Chris Brewster, president of the United States Lifesaving Association, says that “swimming and water activities are very healthy so long as you use appropriate caution for yourself and your family when you visit the beach.”
The best way to protect your family from a rip current is to avoid them. Rip currents, often misnamed rip tides or undertows account for 80% of lifeguard rescues at ocean beaches and 80% of drowning deaths. Parents should select a beach where lifeguards are present because the chances of drowning are 1 in 18 million of a lifeguard is present, Brewster says. Parents should also check with the lifeguard and find out the safest places to swim. If there are no lifeguards present, you may find a kiosk or beach access sign that provides such information.
Brewster advises the following tips in the event that you do get caught in a rip current. First, swim to the side one way or the other until you no longer have difficulties or feel yourself being pulled. Second, fight the current because these currents can move up to 8 knots. Lastly, tread water until somebody can assist you.
Parents should teach their children to swim in the environment that they are going to be swimming in. Your kids may be a confident pool swimmer but that doesn’t prepare them for the conditions of a Jacksonville Beach. For more information on this topic, see beach safety 101.

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