Sun, Sand and Safety on the Beach

Heading to the beach this summer? Brush up on your safety skills and review these helpful tips to keep your family safe on the sand and in the surf:

• Swim close to lifeguard stands, and pay attention to designated swimming areas. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.

• Don’t swim in designated surf areas! Some beaches don’t have flags to identify swim and surf areas, so look at the water to figure out where to swim.

• Provide constant supervision when children are on the beach and in the water, even if they know how to swim. No one should ever swim alone! Sometimes a wave can shift the sand and cause kids to lose their balance.

• Provide water shoes to protect small feet from hot sand or broken shells.

• Start the “stingray shuffle” the moment feet get into the water, where stingrays sometimes hide under a thin layer of sand. The shuffling sends vibrations that will scare away stingrays and prevent beachgoers from accidentally stepping on one.

• If someone does step on a stingray and gets stung, soak that body area in warm water. Keep a spray bottle of vinegar on hand to treat anyone stung by a jellyfish. Don’t forget to contact a lifeguard for additional help.

• Slather on sunscreen to prevent sunburns. Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a high SPF for better protection against UVA and UVB rays. Apply at least 1 ounce of sunscreen to the entire body including feet, nose and ears, at least 30 minutes before going outside. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours.

• Create shade to help prevent sunburns and heat stroke. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. Wear a hat, sunglasses and bring a beach umbrella or tent. Consider wearing clothes with SPF protection woven into the fabric.

• Stay hydrated! Be sure to drink water throughout the day, especially if you are playing games on the beach.

• Pack a first aid kit that includes aloe gel for sunburn relief, triple-antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, waterproof bandages plus alcohol pads for scrapes, hydrocortisone cream for insect bites, tweezers, ear drops for swimmer’s ear, vinegar for jelly fish stings, hand sanitizer, and a chemical cold pack for swelling.