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Safe At the Shore

Even if your child can swim, you need to play it safe at the beach:

  • Stick to beaches with lifeguards.
  • When you get there, check the lifeguard station  -- a sign should show weather and tides or if there's some unusual danger that day.

  • Floats and rings are toys, not safety devices.
  • Even water wings and inflatable swimsuits won't prevent drowning. That's where you come in.

  • Keep kids within arm's reach
  •   -- not just in sight. "Waves can lift and knock over your child in an instant," says the American Red Cross's Connie Harvey. "You need to be right there to help." Best place to stand: between your child and the deeper part of the water. As the tide comes in, both of you should move closer to shore.

  • Prevent jellyfish stings.
  • Remind kids not to touch anything in the water that looks like a little white-and-pink balloon!

  • Save soles.
  • If the beach is rocky or pebbly, put your child in water shoes to prevent cuts and scrapes.