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Summer beach safety

sand crabs are one common critter found at the beach.
sand crabs are one common critter found at the beach.

Summer is in full swing and families flock to the beach for sun, swimming, and fun. Common sense means children can enjoy the beach and sun safely.

Use sun protection for all family members. Sun’s rays are often intensified by the water’s reflective properties. Clouds do not protect from many harmful rays. Children and adults need skin protection. Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to harm from the sun. Babies and toddlers should be kept in the shade as much as possible. They need to wear hats at all times, preferably ones with brims. All non covered skin needs to be with sunblock, applied at regular intervals depending on the child’s age and activity level.

Many types of sunblock products offer protection from sun damage. Spray, stick, and lotions are the most common types, and the higher the number, the stronger the protection factor is. The minimum number should be 15. Choose products that protect from both UVA and UVB rays. The CDC recommends applying products 30 minutes before going outside. Sunblock may need reapplication throughout the day depending on activity level and water exposure.

Apply enough sunscreen. A handful is often enough (approx. 1 oz.) per person, depending on age. Make sure to cover the back of the neck, arms, legs, tops of feet, and other areas not normally seen from forward facing eyes.

Different brands contain different ingredients, like all lotions. Parents may want to try a small trial size to make sure young children are not sensitive to any ingredients in a brand.

Critters in the sand should generally be avoided, especially by kids. Always use a blanket or other sand covering for all family members to sit on. Some common sand critters include sand fleas, sand crabs, roly polies, beach hoppers, beetles, blood worms, and crabs. Many sand critters bite or pinch, which can be painful, but these bites are not usually harmful unless scratches. Treat any suspect bites with an anti-itch stick or similar product. If redness or puffiness continues for more than a couple days, consult a medical professional.

Sand critters move all over the beach depending on the time of day, tide schedule, and land features such as dunes, rocks and vegetation. Inspect an area before setting up base for the day. Avoid places where obvious critter movement is seen. Never leave food out where critters may be attracted to itand could endanger children.

Critters are fun to watch. Teach kids to use eyes only, not fingers or feet. Avoid any contact with beach critters, and remind kids not to poke at them with sticks, sand toys, etc. Respect the life around you for an enjoyable beach experience.

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