Going to the beach with family or friends, or holidaying near a beach, can be a lovely experience for children. But amid all the fun and enjoyment, it’s important to think about safety issues too, as by their very nature beaches can be dangerous places for children. Here are some tips and ideas to take into consideration when thinking about beach safety issues.
General Beach Safety Tips
With a wide expanse of sand or shingle to explore, it’s not surprising that some of the more adventurous children want to get out there and experience it. But with the potential dangers and hazards that exist at the beach, it’s important to be aware of where your children are and what they’re doing at all times.
During the summer months, when beaches tend to be packed with people, children can easily wander off and get lost among the crowds. If you’re setting up on an area of the beach for a day, try to ensure there’s space around you for your children to play. Even older children may want to wander further afield, so arrange a set time for them to come back and, if possible, for an adult to accompany them.
In case a child does get lost, ensure in advance that they know what to do if they get separated from you. For example, your safety procedure may involve heading to a lifeguard station on the beach. If you’re worried about a child remembering key information, such as your mobile phone number or car registration, consider investing in mini capsule necklaces that they wear around their neck with the details safely enclosed within (these are waterproof, so ideal for a beach).
Paddling and Swimming Safety
Issues concerning Water Safety are paramount when on beaches, regardless of whether the tide is in or out. It’s beneficial to explain to children why they need to take care near water, and demonstrate it in your own actions, so they can learn from your example.
If your children want to go swimming in the sea, always ensure you follow the guidance from beach lifeguards, only swimming in the areas designated as safe by lifeguard flags. Inflatables, such as rubber rings, lilos and dinghies, can be used on the beach, but are not advisable for use in the water, as they can be swept away far too easily by the power of the sea.
Take care if there are surfers or body boarders using the water too, especially so that children don’t accidentally collide with the path of a surfer.
Rocks and Rockpool Safety
Where rocks and rockpools are concerned, it’s important to monitor what children are doing and ensure they’re safe. Exploring rockpools is a great way of learning about sea creatures, but should be done in a way that is supervised. Rocks can be sharp, slippery and easy to fall on, and their jagged nature can cause nasty injuries. When water is added into the equation, there’s an extra danger to be aware of.
Building sandcastles, playing in the sand and digging holes on the beach are all popular kids beach activities. When your child is playing in and with the sand, there are some safety issues to be aware of, most notable when it comes to digging holes.
Sand can seem pretty harmless, but games such as partially burying people in the sand, or sitting in a large dug out hole, can carry dangers for children. However well dug a hole may seem, sand can be unstable and can slip and fall down, trapping a child. There have been several tragic cases of children dying on beaches in this manner.
Likewise, even though partially covering and burying someone in the same may seem harmless, it’s not advisable to encourage, as the sand could have a dangerous effect.