Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kids at the Beach --Getting Lost & Found

Many parents are astonished to discover how quickly their kids disappear at the beach. A parent can be getting lunch ready, or chatting with another person, and look up to find one or more kids have wandered off to explore the beach.

Parents worry about a lost child drowning. While this does happen, lifeguards generally report that 99.99% of the time the lost child is found wandering on the beach. The shifting crowds, heat, waves, tides, and the wind all contribute to wandering children losing their way.

Lifeguards report that:

  • When you are 3 or 4 feet tall and can only see the underside of umbrellas, it's easy to get confused because things and people begin to all look alike.
  • The changing tide along with lots of people coming and going also make it difficult for a child to figure out where the family is located.
  • When there's a low tide, more kids get lost because there is more space between the ocean and the people on the beach.
  • Kids go with the wind, they are most often found down wind from their starting location.
  • If the beach has an arcade or playground, kids often find them.

Here are some new beach safety tips.

Beach Safety Tip #1:
The first thing after you arrive at the beach, take your children over to the lifeguard station and introduce them. Let your kids know lifeguards are here to help. If they get lost, your kids should immediately go to a lifeguard and ask for help.

Lifeguards report children who were taught not to talk to strangers had difficult times being reunited with their parents. There was one report of a child who walked for 5 miles because he was taught not to talk to strangers, and had no way to ask for help.

Beach Safety Tip #2
The second thing you do is orient your child as to where you are. Point out a building or sign to help them find their way back. Give them a way to figure out how to return to your location.

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