Rachel Connolly, Lifeguard, County Louth
A day with the kids at a beach, river or lake is free, healthy and fun. With the sun shining, waves crashing and people everywhere, it’s also a day full of distractions. It’s so easy for a child to become lost in the moment, and seconds later to be quite literally lost. That’s why it’s so important for parents to supervise children closely. Young children can drown in just a few inches of water.
Advice for parents at beaches, rivers and lakes
- Always swim at lifeguarded waterways.
- Supervise children at all times. Tell your child to go to the lifeguard hut if they get lost.
- Look for the swim zone and ensure your children always stay and swim within the flags. Ask the lifeguard if you’re unsure where it is.
- Ensure your children know what the flags mean and only swim when it is safe to do so.
- Ensure children swim within their depth and stay within their depth
- Leave inflatable toys at home. They are very dangerous in open water. The slightest breeze can take children away from shore and out of their depth.
- Warm air does not mean warm water. Don’t let children stay in too long and ensure they get fully warm immediately after getting out.
- In rivers and lakes, the water is less buoyant and can be colder than sea water. Know what you’re getting into.
- At rivers and lakes, be aware of hidden dangers and unexpected depths. Children should never jump in without thinking. At beaches, they shouldn’t jump from piers for the same reasons.
- In the case of jelly fish stings or weever fish stings, go to the lifeguard for first aid.