This is National Rip Current Awareness Week, a good time to help make sure that everyone has a safe summer vacation season in and around the water.
On average, more than 100 people drown in rip currents each year and over 50,000 are rescued on beaches by lifeguards after getting caught in a rip current.
National Rip Current Awareness Week is a good time to learn how to keep your kids safe from rip currents. Teach your kids to Break the Grip of the Rip, especially that they should be aware of where they can be at risk for rip currents and when they should stay out of the water.
To be safe from rip currents, be sure to encourage your kids to:
- swim at beaches with lifeguards
- look for colored beach flags that warn about rip currents and obey the flags (look for yellow, red, and double red warning flags that typically indicate a medium to high hazard or that the water is closed).
- always swim with a buddy and never enter the water on their own
- avoid swimming near jetties or a pier, which can have fixed rip currents
- yell for help if they get caught in a rip current and then escape the rip current by swimming parallel to the beach until they are free and then try to swim to shore
- simply float or tread water and wait for help if they can't swim out of the rip current, but never try to swim against the current, as they will just get tired out
You should also check the surf zone forecast before you go swimming and remember that rip currents can occur at any surf beach that has breaking waves - they aren't limited to the ocean.