We live in a tropical country and naturally there are many beaches in the Philippines. In almost every nook and cranny of this country, we can find a resort or an untouched beach that it would be understandable if they considered the Philippines as the land of perpetual summer. Undoubtedly, life is always better at the beach. The sandy feel between your toes, the serene ambiance and the cascading waves are all elements of what makes a relaxing afternoon.
However, the beach is also one of the most precarious places you can bring your tots if you are not vigilant enough as regards their safety. Unfortunately, your children and the scenic beach are not always a good mix. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a beach—sunburns, wounds from stray shards of glass and these are just the minor risks involved. Bringing your kids with you to the beach and having them swim could mean exposing them to rogue waves and drowning if you are not careful enough. But this not need be the case as there are safety measures and precautions one can undertake to ensure their children’s safety and welfare. Here are five precautions that should make it onto your checklist.
1.) Know your swimming limitations
Before hitting the saltwater, you should already have an awareness of what sort of depth you can manage while swimming. That being said, when you take your kids with you into the water for a swim, you should be cautious and watch out for sea trenches. Make sure you bring your kids only to a water depth of which you and they can handle—even if they have life-saving floaters on.
2.) Recognize a riptide
Also known as undertows, riptides are channels of water that flow from the beach out to the sea and can be very dangerous. These waves are coming in and they have to go back out somewhere. Usually, this is a spot that is deeper than its surrounding areas and when water rushes out, a channel is formed that makes it even deeper. Observe the water before getting in. If there are sections of the beach where waves are not breaking, or if whitewater mysteriously disappears in a section then that is the deeper water. Waves tend to break when the water is shallow. Move your kids away from this area as it can very well pull your kids into the sea.
3.) Recognize when anyone is in trouble
Be aware of the warning signs when someone is drowning. When someone is in dire need of help, they would not be able to call out nor are they able to scream. They just simply go under the water and if you cannot recognize this, it might be too late. Contrary to popular belief, drowning is deceptively quiet. Anyone who is drowning would not be able to cry out for help. Breathing is paramount to drowning victims, so speech occurs only happens when breathing is fulfilled which is exceptionally rare. So, keep in mind that kids are noisy in the water. When everything is quiet, you need to find out why.
4.) Talk to lifeguards
Neglecting to talk to lifeguards is a vast oversight on parents or guardians with kids on the beach. You may even underestimate them owing to their youthful appearance or age and think that there is nothing they know that you do not. However, these people are stationed at the beach for a reason—they took training classes before taking the job. They know more than you do and might be your child’s best bet in surviving in the midst of an emergency. As they have spent more time at that beach than you did, ask them where the safest place to swim is and have them pinpoint the dangerous spots. If you are not a particularly skilled swimmer, ask them to keep an eye for you and your children.
5.) Assign a guardian when you are away
If you need to be away (even for just a few minutes), assigning someone to look after your kids is crucial. Do not readily assume that someone can easily notice if your children are in trouble just because the beach is teeming with people. Specifically, assign someone to watch your kids and be firm about it. Additionally, choose someone who is not preoccupied with other things as well so you can be assured that they would give your kids their undivided attention.