It’s time for Spring Break! Toss the winter coat and head to the beach to enjoy the sun. But REMEMBER these safety tips if you are headed to the beach for fun in the sun!
Beach Tips for Families:
- Children and adults should never swim alone.
- Provide close supervision. This means that an adult is within arm's reach anytime your young child is in or near water. Be aware that pools and beaches in other countries may not have lifeguards, and pools may have unsafe drains systems. Supervise children closely.
- At the beach, stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
- Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
- Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.
- Watch out for traffic – some beaches allow cars.
- Wear Sunscreen: It's easy to lose sunscreen protection when your kids are in and out of the water or perspiring. Apply a broad spectrum, waterproof sunscreen a half hour before going outdoors and reapply it every couple of hours.
- If anyone in the family is wearing sunglasses, make sure they offer full UV protection, too.
- Have footwear at the ready. That stroll along the beach may be just right to warm your tootsies and give them a refreshing sand bath, but the walk back across the asphalt to the car could get hot and dangerous. The same goes for that nature walk or poolside swim. Foot protection could save someone a painful accident. Avoid hot, hurt feet by being prepared.
- Your warm weather destination may not cooperate for the entire trip. Early spring days can start out temperate and turn chilly fast. Make sure to take along clothing your family can layer to stay comfortable.
Now that covers some safety tips for families traveling together- but one of the greatest ages of safety concern is for college students traveling without families. Sandy beaches, warm waters and tropical drinks beckon hundreds of thousands of college students to destinations for spring break. But preparing for these vacations should include more than double-checking your passport and packing a suitcase full of flip flops and bikinis.
Remind your college student about these safety tips:
- Book a hotel in a central location to limit the need to drive. The closer your hotel is to the beach, downtown or other areas where you plan to spend most of your time, the less likely you'll be to get lost or to be involved in a car crash. Avoid unlicensed taxi cabs by asking your hotel, restaurant or club to summon a ride for you, and if in doubt, pass up the car and wait for another one.
- Avoid going out and/or traveling alone at night. There really is safety in numbers, and you and your friends can watch out for each other. Walking alone or even clubbing alone can make you a vulnerable target to people whose intentions are less than pure. Even a two-minute walk can be dangerous when you're alone at night.
- Never go off with a stranger. Spring break can be a great time to meet new people, but that doesn't mean you should leave your group of friends to spend time with people you don't know. Even if your new acquaintances just want to walk down the street, stick to your group or at least bring along someone you know and trust.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Overdoing it on alcoholic drinks impairs your judgment, making you more susceptible to accidents and crime. Pace yourself, and avoid drinks with high alcohol content, like shots. Not only is it safer all around, you'll feel a lot better in the morning. If you plan to drink, always designate a sober companion in your group who can make executive decisions about everyone's safety. Most people don’t know they are being poisoned by alcohol until it is too late. A lot of students drink from the time the wake up in the morning until the wee hours of the next day. Many students are unaware that consuming too much alcohol or even passing out from drinking can lead to death.
- Remember to use sunscreen. Sunburns are a high risk factor for college students who may forget to re-apply many times during the day. Burns are one reason for hospital visits. Also, remember that sun exposure and alcohol don't mix. Spring break often involves lots of time lounging in the sun and in hot tubs, both of which can intensify the effects of alcohol in the body. Take it easy, and remember to slather up with sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, even when it's cloudy.
- Don’t take risks. Use appropriate safety gear for sports and other recreational activities. Whether you're driving a scooter, skateboarding or just riding on a boat, protect yourself with any necessary equipment like helmets, knee pads and life jackets.
- Visit the ATM in groups. Friends can keep a lookout while you're withdrawing cash to lower the risk of robbery. If you must go alone, be sure to cover the keypad when you enter your pin number, just in case someone is watching or the ATM is equipped with an illegal skimming device that steals card information.
- Keep your money safe. Carry a limited amount of cash at a time as well as a single credit card. Never flash wads of cash at the ATM or in other public places. Tell your credit card company that you'll be traveling before you leave to avoid holds on your account due to suspicious activity.
- Don’t drink and drive or text and drive. This saying has been said so much that it may seem like a cliché. Still, many students get behind the wheel of a car, or get into a car with someone who has been drinking. Just as serious is texting while driving. It is vitally important that when out driving, whether in a town you are not familiar with on spring break, or at home, that you are alert and free from distractions.
No matter the age or the group going to the beach, pay attention to these safety tips and avoid making mistakes so you just have great memories!