10 beach safety tips to keep your children safe this summer

27 October 2016

Summer is coming and for South Australians that means fun-filled family days at the beach and soaking up all that sun, sand and salty sea air goodness.

For parents, this often means planning and packing in advance. Lots of SPF 50+ sunscreen, snacks, buckets and spades, towels, hats, umbrellas, chairs, water and of course that new Matchbox car that just has to go everywhere with the youngest child. It's a long list to remember!

But there's one thing more important to remember than all of these… and that's water safety strategies for you and your children. 

So, before you hit the beach this summer, brush up on some safety rules to make sure your family day at the beach is a safe one:


Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide:

The little jingle never gets old! Avoid sunburn by Slipping on a shirt, Slopping on some SPF 50+ sunscreen, Slapping on a hat, Seeking shade particularly during the hottest part of the day, and Sliding on some sunglasses.

Swim between the flags:

Patrolled beaches are the safest option for families hitting the coast this summer. Always swim between the flags and adhere to directions by the lifeguards on duty.

Swim with a buddy:

Children should never be left to swim or play in the ocean alone. Encourage them to swim with a buddy and watch out for each other when they're swimming or playing along the water's edge. (Remember: a responsible adult must always be nearby as well).

Know the conditions:

Check the weather and wind conditions before you jump in the car. Make sure the water is calm enough for safe family play.

Understand what to do in a rip:

Children and adults should know what to do if they become caught in a rip. Don't fight the current, swim parallel to the shore until you're out of the rip and then head back in to shore. 

Avoid floating toys:

Floating toys can be fun in the pool but they aren't a good idea at the beach where you could be dumped by waves and carried out further than you are able to swim back. Boogie boards are a good alternative.

Learn how to swim and know your limitations:

Children learn a lot about water safety and their own confidence in the water through swimming lessons at their local pool or beach. If you're not a confident swimmer yourself, it's a good idea to take lessons too! Click here to find out more about VACSWIM classes for children.

Reapply sunscreen:

It's easy for kids to become so caught up in their splashing, sandcastles and play that they forget to reapply sunscreen. The Cancer Council recommends you reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming. An SPF 50 is the best form of sunscreen on the market, but if you can't get your hands on that, try an SPF 30.

Stay hydrated:

It's easy to forget to replenish with a drink of H2O when you're splashing in the waves and building sandcastles. Bring plenty of water and fruit (we suggest freezing grapes or watermelon beforehand) to avoid dehydration for the whole family.

Responsible adult on watch:

A child can drown in a very small level of water in the space of just two seconds. So it is vital that an adult is on-watch - or ankle deep right behind the children - at all times. If you need to go to the bathroom or leave your watch spot for any reason, hand the baton to another adult from your group, or pull the children out of the water for a little while (it will do them good to reapply some sunscreen and have a drink of water anyway!).


We're spoilt for choice in South Australia for some of the best beaches for family holidays, day trips or just a day out. But making sure you and your family are water safe at whichever beach you visit this summer is the best choice of all.