We live about 45 minutes from the gulf, so it’s a highlight of every Summer to take the kids to the beach. We end up going several times a year and we all love it.
The beach is a lot scarier as a parent though. There are so many ways for kids to get lost, hurt or injured there, that it can make for a stressful day, even through all the fun.
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Through the years we’ve found several things that can help make beach trips safer. Of course, these aren’t replacements for watching your child and staying with them at all times. They simply help bring a little peace of mind.
Photo Outfit – At the start of each new day of fun, snap a full-length photo of each child on your phone. This can help if you get separated, because you can show people the photo of what your child is wearing and exactly what he or she looks like. Dressing all the kids in matching outfits could have a similar affect, if you aren’t planning to bring your camera or phone down to the beach with you. Of course we all watch our kids carefully and don’t want any one to get lost, but being prepared is always the best strategy!
Phone Number Tattoos – These can come in handy, especially for younger kids who might not know your cell phone number yet, or who recently learned it and can’t necessarily be relied upon to remember it in a stressful situation. You can grab them on amazon before you hit the beach with your kids.
Watch out for sand holes – It’s a beach tradition to dig a hole and bury some one’s torso and legs in, only to watch them try to wiggle out. Some people take it a bit farther and dig a huge deep hole, which can be hard for kids to notice. Teach them to watch out for holes so they don’t fall in one and get stuck and also, make sure you fill in any holes you dig for the safety of other beach go-ers!
Ground rules… for everyone – Not only is it helpful to go over rules with the kids before every day at the beach, but I’ve found that it’s important to go over rules with everyone else in your group too. If you’re at the beach with other adults, make sure they know the rules you have for your kids at the beach so they don’t accidentally encourage a child to do something they shouldn’t. This is especially important if you are hitting the beach with family. Extended family might assume your child is a better swimmer than they are and encourage them to go out farther than they could safely go, or give permission for them to do something you wouldn’t want your kids doing.
I’ve found this to be helpful with other children as well. Even if friends/cousins have different rules than your children do, everyone will know what everyone else is allowed to do and it makes blame shifting later on a non-issue.
Refreshments – Make sure to bring lots of water and even some quick snacks down to the beach. I’m always amazed at how quickly we can become dehydrated and weak from lack of food. Our favorites are water bottles with sports caps (less sand in the water) and granola bars for a quick sand-free pick me up!
Aloe lotion (no aloe gel) – Only bring the aloe lotion for after sun care, not the gel. I know that the gels are very popular, but a fire fighter friend told me that lotion is actually much better for burnt skin than the gel. This is because the aloe gel acts like a blocker and actually locks the heat in and doesn’t allow your skin to heal. (Yikes!) Lotion on the other hand, seeps down into your skin to heal it, while also letting the heat get out, so you have a better chance to keep the tan and not peel!
How do you keep things safe at the beach? Share your tips in the comments!