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6 Beach Safety Tips All Parents Should Know

A day at the beach can create a lifetime of happy family memories, but there are a few important safety rules that kids and parents should observe to make the day as rewarding as possible. Here are Pottery Barn Kids' top seven tips for staying safe at the beach this summer.

1. Recognize a Rip Current

A rip current, also called an undertow, is created when waves break along the sea's shore and create narrow channels that flow outward from the beach into the sea. Rip currents can be very powerful and are dangerous for even experienced swimmers. If the channel of water flowing out to the surf zone is strong enough, it can knock a small child over and drag them away from the shore at a very high speed. Before entering the water, be sure to check for areas where the waves don't appear to be breaking. These are the channels of water that are flowing back out to sea. Rip currents also tend to form around piers and docks, so you'll want to be sure your kids are swimming well away from such structures.

2. Teach Kids How to Get Out of a Rip Current

Be sure your kids know how to get out of a rip current. If they ever get caught in one, they should attempt to swim parallel to the shore, not toward it. This will get them out of the path of the undertow. They should tread water or float until they are free of the rip current.

3. Recognize the Signs of Danger

In most cases, people who are drowning are unable to call out or wave for help. Other signs that someone may be in distress are hyperventilating gasping and trying to roll over on the back. Keep an eye out for anyone whose head is low in the water or who is trying to swim in a particular direction but can't.

4. Decide on a Maximum Swimming Depth

Before anyone gets into the water, they should know how far they can go (i.e. up to the knees or the shoulders). Base your decision on how deep into the water each child can go on their swimming abilities, the calmness of the water and whether they're using any flotation devices.

5. Avoid Holes in the Sand

Holes in the sand present a risk of injury to kids who are walking and running along the beach. Fill in any sand holes you find when arriving at the beach and if your kids dig any holes when you're there, be sure they are filled up right away. Educating your kids about the dangers of digging holes on the beach will help avoid accidents and injuries.

6. Don't Forget the Sunscreen

Sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 should be applied to your children's skin at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every hour to ensure sufficient coverage. Be sure to use a waterproof formula so your kids will be protected even while swimming.

Spending a day at the beach is great way for the whole family to enjoy some outdoor recreation, but it's important for parents to remain vigilant at all times. The above safety tips will help you avoid mishaps so everyone can focus on having fun.

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