Summer time means beach fun. But don’t let the summer time fun become a nightmare on the beach. Here are some tips for beach safety for kids.

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​Common Beach Hazards

​The beach welcomes many visitors including some creatures that may or may not be friendly to kids intruding in their habitat. Common creatures that might be found near or on the beach could include crabs, jellyfish, stingrays and eels. Although most of these creatures prefer to be in the water, some may wash up on shore and stay active for some period before dying or being washed back at high tide.

​Crabs

​Most crabs do come out on the beach and they are harmless. They go about their own business, trying to avoid human footsteps and get food or find shelter. But occasionally, especially kids, come in contact with crabs and something can go wrong.

​Most crabs have a strong pinch with their pincers. It can hurt especially a smaller child. While most crabs are relatively small and their pincers might not do much damage, there are some larger crabs that could do some significant damage.

Stingrays

Stingrays are common along the edge of the beach. A stingray is related to the sharks, a cartilage fish. Most times they are docile unless provoked or stepped on. Stepping on them is more likely because they bury themselves to hide from prey.

The sting is the most dangerous part. The stinger is a barbed spine along the tail. The toxin in the sting affects the nerves which can affect the heart and circulatory system.

Eels

Eels feed around beach areas sometimes. Eels are opportunistic feeding on just about anything. They are omnivorous too and will eat bits of plants. The bigger ones, especially the Moray eel, are more aggressive and deliver a potent bite. The mouth of an eel can contain bacteria and cause wounds to become infected.

Corals

Corals can deliver powerful stings. They are normally found further out in the ocean but can sometimes be found in shallow waters. Scuba divers or people who are snorkeling can often run into these stinging animals.

Infamous Creatures on the Beach

Some creatures just get a bad reputation for being deadly. Some have been named extremely dangerous by many experts. Some are only found in isolation or in certain areas. But these few named creatures deserve a little attention. Be aware of these infamous creatures.

The Portuguese Man-O-War

Most people think of this creature as a big jellyfish. Although related to the jellyfish, it isn’t a true jellyfish. It really isn’t just one creature either. It’s many creatures all in one package, each having their own vital role to play in its existence. It’s also known as the Bluebottle. It’s sting, however painful, isn’t usually fatal.

Box Jellyfish

A very dangerous jellyfish to run into is called the box jellyfish. This devil of a jellyfish can deliver a fatal sting rather quickly to kids. It is also called the sea wasp. It is primarily found in Hawaii and Australia. The sting is very powerful and painful.

Jellyfish use their tentacles to sting prey for food. They can sometimes wash upon shore. They can remain active once they do wash upon shore so it is important to avoid even the ones washed up on the beach.

Blue Ringed Octopus

This little octopus is deadly. A full grown blue ringed octopus is only about the size of a golf ball. It can be hard to see. It isn’t usually aggressive and will try to run away from any perceived danger.

Its venom contains a powerful neurotoxin. It is delivered through the bite of the octopus. Sometimes the bite may be painless so it is hard to tell until it’s too late. One bite may be enough to kill a human adult. Since there is no known antidote, it is extremely vital to get emergency help immediately. But it is possible to survive a blue ringed octopus bite through emergency first aid and artificial respiration.

The Shark

There are many sharks that have been known to attack humans. But the ones with the most attacks are the Great White, Tiger and Bull sharks.

Sharks don’t usually attack humans for food. They often mistake humans for their main food sources. But sometimes that can turn deadly.

Sharks are eating machines and have a powerful bite that can easily tear through flesh and sometimes bone. There are more shark bites reported but that doesn’t mean more shark attacks. Some think this may just be that it is easier to report a shark attack and easier for others to find out. Some think more shark attacks are happening because more people are frequenting favored hunting spots of the sharks. Whatever the case, the shark has gotten a nasty reputation as a man killer.

Safety Tips & Preparing for Emergencies

How does one prepare for beach safety and emergencies? It is helpful to know what dangers may be lurking on the beach you will be going to. Find out. Call ahead to see what types of beach dangers there are and what creatures may be hiding in the waters just beyond the beach.

Teach kids to respect animals in distress and animals that may have washed up on shore. Make sure you report any sharks or other animals that you see. It’s better safe than sorry.

Prepare for an emergency just as in any emergency situation. Be sure to have medical cards and vital statistics on your children such as height, weight, eye color and any medical condition along with you at the beach. Be observant and teach the kids to be observant. Be wary of beaches with no lifeguards. This can spell out more dangers as no professional will be available to help out and speed up emergency response.

​Have a first aid kit for the beach.

​First Aid Kit for the Beach

​To prepare a first aid kit to take to the beach, you will need a water proof container to hold the items in. This way it can be brought to the edge of the water if necessary. The following items should be included in the first aid kit.

  1. ​First Aid Manual: In a deadly situation, a how-to manual is a must-have necessity.
  2. Gauze
  3. Bandages: Get bandages in all sizes because kids come in all sizes.
  4. Antibiotic cream.
  5. Antiseptic. This comes in handy and convenient wipes and spray.
  6. Tweezers
  7. Scissors
  8. Thermometer: This is to monitor any fever after an emergency.
  9. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen: These can be used for most pain relief.
  10. Blanket

​These items are the most common items found in a first aid kit. Some others might include a flashlight, hydrocortisone creams and other medicine to treat more specific problems. Always remember to restock the first aid kit each year with fresh items. Many things will become outdated or will expire with age.

​Be Safe at the Beach

​Don’t let emergencies scare you away from the beach. But being aware of common hazards before they occur is the best medicine for emergencies. Teach your children signs of trouble before it happens. Be prepared for any emergency and keep your kids safe at the beach.

Nancy D. Richardson

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