Before you head out to the waves, make sure that you have everything that you need. Although this list may not be 100% complete for every family, it’s a good starting point for most people.
- Bathing Suits
- Plastic Bags (for collecting garbage and other trinkets)
- Beach Blanket
- Medication (if necessary)
- First Aid Kit
- Beach Toys
- Bug Spray
- Disposable Wipes
- Beach Bag (to hold everything)
- Flotation Devices/Life Jackets
- Change of Clothes/Shoes
Jumping in the waves and swimming in the ocean are so much fun! Here are some tips to help keep your aqua-play safe.
You may have heard of this potentially life-threatening issue if you’ve been to the ocean before. A rip tide is a current that pulls you away from the shore. It’s much too strong to swim against, and it can be both scary and deadly if you don’t know what to do. Unfortunately, it’s hard to pinpoint where such a current may be, so there is always a risk.
If you ever find yourself in a rip tide, the best thing you can do is swim parallel to the shore. Usually, the current is relatively narrow, so rather than swimming against, try to swim away from it. Once you’re free from the tide, then you can swim back to shore.
Be sure to inform your children if they are going to go into the water as well.
Usually, people don’t swim in the ocean, but rather they play in the waves. This is a great way to experience the fun of the water without a lot of risk, but there can still be a threat if you’re not careful. Here are some things to remember to keep you and your family safe.
- Never turn your back to the ocean. It takes only a second to get swept off your feet. This is true whenever you’re by the water.
- Watch for larger waves. Don’t let your kids go out when the waves are bigger than them.
- Pay attention to the terrain. There may be rocks or other hazards beneath the water, so don’t assume that it’s safe.
- Have toddlers and little kids wear life vests or flotation devices if they are going in. This will ensure that they don’t get pulled under.
- Always stay close by, just in case something does happen.
- Don’t rely solely on the lifeguard. Many beaches don’t have a lifeguard. However, even if one is on duty, don’t expect him or her to notice your child immediately.
Tips for Staying Safe in the Water
According to an article in Parents magazine, “every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or is abducted.”
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (citing U.S. Department of Justice reports), nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s more than 2,000 a day. The NCMEC says 203,000 children are kidnapped each year by family members.
It is every parent’s worst nightmare, and it doesn’t take much time to abscond with your child. Even if you believe a place to be safe, all it takes is a minute, and your little one could be gone.
Don’t let this happen to your child at the beach (or anywhere else). Here are a few things to consider so that you don’t fall victim to this devastating scenario.
Tips for Parents
- Always keep your kids in sight. Never let them get too far, even just for a second. If your children are playing with others away from you, make sure you know how to find or contact them at all times.
- Warn your children to avoid strangers and never to follow them anywhere. Question and monitor anyone who takes an unusual interest in your children. Have your children practice their most annoying scream in case it is needed.
- Have your little ones wear bright and easily identifiable clothing. This will help you spot them faster if they get caught in a crowd or wander off by accident.
- Don’t ever leave children unattended in a vehicle, whether it is running or not.
Tips for Children
- Know your contact information: name, address, and phone number(s).
- Learn how and when to call 911.
- If you are scared of someone, RUN to safety.
- Avoid shortcuts when you are walking from one place to another.
- Fight back if a stranger ever picks you up to carry you away. Scream, kick, bite and FIGHT as hard as you can to get away! NEVER trust what the person tells you.
Although the sand and surf are usually places to have a good time, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily safe. Since you are in nature, there are tons of elements that are beyond your control. As such, it’s crucial that you plan accordingly so that you and your family stay safe both in and out of the water. We’ll talk about ocean hazards in a future post, but right now let’s focus on things that you can find on land instead.
- Warning Signs: Pay attention to these when they are posted. They are usually in place when conditions are dangerous both in and out of the water, so read them carefully.
- Rocks: Many kids love climbing on rocks, but it can be extra dangerous when they’re surrounded by the ocean. Wet conditions mean that they could slip and fall much more easily. Not only that, but many rocks will be covered with barnacles, leading to scrapes and cuts.
- Wildlife: Most of the animals that you will see on the beach are birds, but there may be other wildlife that could be in the area. Let your kids know to avoid contact with them, as well as any remains they may encounter. This could include both droppings and dead animals.
- Trash and Refuse: Unfortunately, many beaches are covered in garbage these days. Although most of it is plastic, there can be broken bottles or needles hidden in the sand as well. Make sure to inform your kids that they shouldn’t play with anything they find on the beach, and monitor their activity.
- Shells and Other Sharp Objects: Your children will likely want to run around barefoot on the sand, but this may be a mistake. There are tons of items in the sand, such as broken sea shells, that could cut their feet and create a huge problem. Instead, have them wear flip-flops or sandals for protection.
Too many of us don’t think about the fact that the sun can do irreparable damage to our skin. Skin cancer is a continuous threat, and not something that you should take lightly. Protecting both yourself and your kids should be a priority for you, so it’s imperative that you keep these tips in mind when you’re out on the sand.
- Sunburns Happen Anytime: Whether it’s in the morning or early evening, you can get burned. Most of us don’t think about it when the air is cool, but as long as the sun is shining, you can be affected by it.
- Don’t Forget to Reapply Sunscreen: If you go into the water, that will remove a lot of sunscreen from your body. Sweat can also cause it to drip off, so remember to apply another layer every so often to keep yourself and your little ones protected.
- Wear Hats and Dark Clothes: White shirts (and other light colors) don’t block sunlight, so you can still get burned while wearing them. Instead, rely on thicker materials or darker colors. You will be a little hotter, but you won’t have to worry about your skin.
More about protecting yourself from the sun…
Protect Yourself from the Effects of the Sun
If you get sunburned…
Sun Protection and Sunburns
Spending time on the road can be taxing for a lot of people, mainly because you’re cooped up in a confined space for hours on end. If you want to avoid a lot of the stress that comes with extended travel time, then follow these tips.
- Stop and Stretch Regularly: Try not to go more than three or four hours without stopping. Even just a quick pit stop will allow you to re-energize yourself and get ready for the next leg of your journey.
- Switch Drivers if Possible: Taking shifts can make the drive much more bearable as you don’t have to try and manage the whole trip yourself.
- Play Car Games to Pass the Time: Traveling with kids means that boredom is always going to be a problem. Screens and other devices can cause car sickness, so instead learn a few games to keep them occupied.
- Always Use the Restroom: Whenever you do stop, even if it’s just for gas, you should go to the bathroom as well. This will ensure that you don’t wind up stopping again shortly after that, and it can help streamline your trip.
Tips for Hotel Safety
If your beach adventure is going to last more than a day, then finding a hotel is necessary. For the most part, many places are safe and secure, but that doesn’t mean that you should get complacent. Here are a few things to consider when picking out a hotel for you and your family.
- Watch your luggage at all times. It doesn’t take much for a thief to make off with an item.
- Make sure that your valuables are stored safely.
- Check the room to ensure that it has: fire extinguisher, a secondary lock, and smoke detectors.
- Make sure the hotel is well-lit. If any part is not well-lit, it’s probably not the best place to stay.
- All hotels should limit access to the rooms. If it seems like anyone can get to your room with minimal issues, then it’s not safe.
- Check the hotel safety precautions. Safety precautions that should be standard include access to floors with room key only, never giving room numbers to strangers, and security personnel on site.
Summer Travel Safety: Tips for a Safe Hotel Stay
Tips for Traveling With a Toddler
Bringing a little one to the beach can add some new challenges to your trip, so it’s imperative that you plan accordingly. Although you can’t ensure that nothing will go wrong, it’s better if you have a plan in place than trying to wing it on the spot.
- Bring snacks and water at all times.
- Plan to make more pit stops than usual.
- Keep toys and other items around to fight boredom wherever you are.
- Bring plenty of sunscreen and sun protection.
- Bring a stroller that can handle the sand, as well as provide shade from the sun.
- Get to the beach early; this will avoid crowds and protect your little one from the strongest rays.
- Plan for nap times – either use your stroller or bring a cushion and a stuffed animal for your child to sleep with.
Summer Travel Safety: Tips for Travelling with a Toddler
For most families, going to the beach is a fun and relaxing way to spend your time. Whether you’re going for the day or taking a vacation against the sand and surf, the beach can be both rewarding and exciting. However, just because there are a lot of great things to do there, doesn’t mean that it’s without any possible downsides.
From getting swept away by the ocean to getting a nasty sunburn, there are more dangers than you might think when you plan your next trip to the beach. So, to help ensure that you and your family don’t have to worry, we’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks, and advice to help you get the most out of your next excursion.
Preparing Your Vehicle
For many people, planning a trip to the beach requires more preparation than heading down the street. If you don’t live close by the water, it could be a relatively long journey before you feel the spray of the sea in your hair.
As such, it’s imperative that you prepare your car beforehand so that you don’t run into problems later on. Some things to think about before you head out:
- Check Your Fluids:if it’s been a while since you’ve changed your oil, brake fluid, and other liquids in your car, then you want to make sure that you don’t run out on your journey. Coolant is especially crucial if you’re going to a hot climate.
- Clean Your Car:both the inside and out of your vehicle should be close to spotless before your trip. The reason for this is that it will be much easier to manage the sand that you will inevitably bring inside. If your car is currently messy, it will only get mixed in with the rest of the dirt, making it harder to see.
- Check Your Tires: some beaches allow you to drive on them, which enables you to better access to the water and ensures that you have a place to set up camp for the day. However, if your tires are not in excellent condition, you could lose traction and wind up slipping and sliding on the sand.
Download a free Travel Safety Checklist at:
Summer Travel Safety: Checklist for Before You Leave
We want to finish out our Travel Safety Series with a quick tip about insurance.
Getting your car and yourself ready for a vacation should involve more than just packing a bag and filling the tank. Do you know what will be covered if something happens along the way? What if you get into an accident in another state or country? What about your home while you’re gone? Do you have traveler’s insurance?
One of your pre-vacation steps should be to check with your insurance agent to ensure that you have sufficient coverage in case the worst happens while you’re out and about on your adventure. Do a thorough insurance review of your policy and let your agent know what your plans are to ensure that you will be covered in case things go awry along the way.
Don’t wait until you’re stuck on the side of the road to find out whether your coverage is sufficient. Give us a call (865-922-3111) or use our contact form. Doing a review doesn’t take long and our experienced agents can help you understand the coverage you have and what you might need as well as answer any questions you may have.
Spending more time with your family is one reason to take a long vacation together, but having little ones in tow can be challenging, to say the least. Even if you’ve taken your toddler on trips before, he or she can still have a hard time with the changes to his or her daily routine. As such, you want to keep these considerations in mind.
- Plan for extra accommodations. When going over your itinerary, make sure to think about things like diaper changes (or potty breaks), children-friendly restaurants, and other amenities that can make your trip that much easier.
- Prepare to deal with sickness. Your toddler will be exposed to all kinds of things along the way, which means that some of those germs can turn into a cold or something worse. Just in case your little one will get sick at some point during the trip, bring appropriate items to care for him or her.
- Keep a first-aid kit handy. New environments and experiences mean that your toddler will be trying things for the first time. In some cases, these could lead to accidents, such as bumps, bruises, and cuts. Be ready to handle all of those by having a small kit nearby.
- Bring lots of snacks. Your toddler will frequently be hungry, so never leave without bringing a few options for him or her to eat during the trip. Water and juice is also a must.
- Be patient. You should already be able to manage the stress of being a parent, but when you’re on vacation, there are so many different things happening that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If possible, divide parenting duties between you so that you don’t have to be “on duty” for the whole trip.
No matter where you’re headed, chances are that you’ll be staying in a hotel for the night. Whether it’s a four-star resort or a motel on the side of the highway, it’s imperative that you keep you and your family safe during your visit. For the most part, hotels are secure and provide peace of mind, but that doesn’t mean that you should get too complacent. Usually, the problems that arise at hotels are theft, fraud, and lack of security precautions.
So, with that in mind, here are some considerations to make when stopping for the night.
- Park your vehicle close to your room. If possible, make sure that you can see it from the room without having to open the door. This will ensure that you can keep an eye on it at all times.
- If possible, go to a hotel with added security measures. These options can include restricted access between floors or limited access after hours. Being able to enter your room from an interior hallway (instead of outside) usually adds an extra level of safety. Having these measures in place can ensure that only guests are present on the property.
- Use “do not disturb” signs. If you’re worried about theft of personal belongings, then it can be a good idea to avoid having too many people going through your room.
- Call the front desk and see if they provide your room number. Hotels are usually strict about giving details of guests. If they give you the room number for where you’re staying, choose a different hotel.
- Don’t leave valuables sitting out. Whether it’s a wallet, ID, or other items that can be valuable to someone else, make sure that it isn’t sitting out when you’re not there. Identity theft is a real threat, and it doesn’t take much to get your personal information.