Beach safety with children
Australia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world which at the same time can be the most treacherous which means it is important to practice basic surf safety when hitting the beach with the family.
Volunteer Surf Lifesavers work selflessly throughout the summer months to patrol beaches across Australia. To stay safe and help make their job a little easier, here a few safety tips which may one day help save your life:
ALWAYS REMEMBER FLAGS
F Find Flags and swim between them
L Look at the safety signs
A Ask a Lifesaver for some good advice
G Get a friend to swim with you
S Stick your hand up for help
BEACH FLAGS AND SAFETY SIGNS
Surf lifesavers and professional lifeguards identify the safest place on the beach to swim each day. The red and yellow flags are placed here to mark the safest swimming area. This is the only place to swim while at the beach!
Red and Yellow - Safety - swim between the flags
Yellow - Use caution
Red - Beach closed - Danger. No swimming
Red and White - Shark alarm
Board Riding Sign - Board riding area to the left or right (as per arrow)
Lifesavers and lifeguards use a number of different condition boards and flags to identify dangers to the people swimming at the beach.
TO STAY SAFE AT THE BEACH
- Never swim at unpatrolled beaches
- Never swim at night
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Never run and dive into the water
- Never swim directly after a meal
LOOKING AFTER KIDS AT THE BEACH
With large crowds gathering at the beach throughout summer, lost children has become a major issue lifesavers continue to deal with.
The best way to avoid this from occurring is to swim only in patrolled areas and encourage children to never swim alone. Surf Lifesavers are there to help you and your children stay safe on our beaches.
There are three simple ways to prevent your children from getting lost from view:
- Supervision of children is vital and the best form of supervision at the beach is to actively interact with your children.
- Bright lycra style swimming suits make good sun sense and are easy to see.
- Identify an easy to find point on the beach that the child can go if you become separated (e.g. lifesavers' tower)
If you become separated from your children:
- Do not panic, hundreds of children are reported lost every year who are usually found walking along the beach.
- Quickly check the immediate area then notify the lifesavers/lifeguards on duty
- If no lifesavers are on duty then police can be contacted
- The lifesavers/lifeguards will need some information from you, such as:
- A description (i.e. age, clothing, name, hair colour)
- The time the child was last seen (this helps determine how far the child may have gone)
- Any medical problems the child may have
- Most children are usually found very quickly, however, sometimes a wider search is needed, this may include:
- The car
- The home/unit
- Surrounding parklands/playgrounds
- A further expanse of the beach (children have been known to walk some distances)
- Stay calm and assist the lifesavers/lifeguards or Police as requested, they will be doing everything they can to help you.
BE SUN SAFE
Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap
- Slip on a Shirt (preferably long-sleeved)
- Slop on some Sunscreen (15/30+ and reapply as needed, especially after swimming)
- Slap on a Hat
- Wrap some UV protective sunglasses around your eyes
Want to educate your children on surf safety? Nippers programs are run through clubs across Australia and are designed to educate and entertain your kids throughout the summer season. The Nippers program is run for children aged between 5 and 13, providing with them with basic surf skills and keeping them fit and healthy. Nippers programs are a great opportunity to make your children confident in and around the water. This program gives parents peace of mind and allows the children the opportunity to learn a skill for life! For more information contact your local surf club.
"If we can't see you, we can't save you"
Please swim between the red and yellow flags
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