Spain is a fabulous country both to live in and to come to for holidays. But like anywhere in the world, if you and your family love beach holidays and going into the sea, and you have small children, their safety is paramount. So to help you keep everyone safe (not just the little ones), we’ve written down a few helpful tips of beach safety here in Spain.
Respecting the Power of the Spanish Sun
We are all alot more conscious of the power of the Sun’s rays these days, but you can’t be too careful, especially here in sunny Spain. You can easily get sun tanned from just walking around, so whenever you go out (especially when you go to the beach) put plenty of sunscreen on any exposed part of the family’s bodies. Make sure you choose the right grade of sunscreen, and keep extra with you so you can top up at regular intervals. Just to be on the safe side, you should make sure that small children wear sun hats.
It goes without saying that the Sun is at its strongest at midday. But please bear in mind that here in Spain it’s much stronger than it is in the UK for example, for most of the day. A lot of the beaches in Spain have sun beds and umbrellas for hire. If you haven’t got your own, make use of them.
The Sea can be a Dangerous Place
The sea can be a dangerous place, but if you take the right precautions, you and your family can have a great time. In summer the Mediterranean is lovely and warm, but it’s still cool enough to help to lower your body temperature. There are plenty of lovely, sandy beaches to choose from all along the coast, but if you can, try and find one that has a lifeguard. The truth is that you can’t keep an eye on your children every single second, so a lifeguard provides you with a second set of eyes just in case one of your little ones should wander off into the sea.
The cardinal rule with small children is to always accompany them into the sea. Make sure they wear swim arm bands. You can’t be too careful.
One thing you should watch out for are jellyfish. Some areas are more prone to them than others, but if there are any in the sea where you are, then stay out of the water. They may look harmless, but young children won’t understand the danger, and can easily end up getting severely stung which can be extremely painful.
It’s a good idea to learn how to treat jellyfish stings. There’s some excellent information posted in an article we ran a short while ago. You can access it by following: http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/health-tips/123-how-to-treat-jellyfish-stings.html
Before you head to the beach, it's a good idea to make sure you pack a first aid kit. These will come in very handy for any minor injuries that may occur including cuts and grazes. First aid kits can be obtained from any pharmacy in Spain for just a few Euro's.
It’s always a good idea, especially if you’re visiting a beach that you’ve never been to before, to check it out and get as many details about it as you can. How deep the water is; whether or not there are any dangerous currents; are there any water sports like surfing that could injure your kids. If there’s a lifeguard it’s always worth a chat, or if not you can always try to talk to the locals - there’s usually a few 100 Brits around!.
Don’t go to secluded beaches if you intend swimming. It’s always safer when there are other people around, just in case someone gets into difficulties.
It’s also a good idea to have chat with your children just to make sure they understand beach safety. And just in case one of them does wander off and get lost, it’s a good idea to find a landmark on the beach and agree to meet there if anyone gets separated.
Beach and Sea Safety for Grown Ups
Alcohol and the sea just don’t mix so never, ever go swimming after you’ve been drinking. You'll also want to make sure that you keep your body hydrated. It can get very hot in this part of the world and it's easy to forget to keep drinking sufficient amounts of water. Make sure you have a few bottles of fresh water on hand.
If the beach you’re at has warning flags posted, learn what the different colors mean and keep a watchful eye on them. Green indicates that swimming conditions are favorable; yellow means to act with caution and to keep an eye out for a change, and red means it is unsafe. Conditions can change quickly. Don’t go swimming on your own, and never swim when it’s dark.
The Blue Flag System
The blue flag system is a way of monitoring and signaling the best beaches in Europe and South Africa. The system is independently operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education. The blue flag is awarded to beaches that meet the Foundation’s high standard which are measured across 4 categories:
- The quality of the water
- The level of local environmental education and information on display
- The standard of the local environmental management
- Safety services available
There are 24 countries taking part in the scheme, and Spain, with 450 current blue flag awards (each flag lasts only 12 months then has to be renewed) is the leading country. So if you and your family are holidaying in Spain this year or indeed living here permanently, you’ll stand a good chance of finding some excellent, safe, quality beaches.
So to recap.
- Use plenty of sunscreen
- Drink plenty of water
- Take a first aid kit
- Be aware of warning flags
- Arrange a meeting point
- Young children should wear arm bands
- Educate the little ones
- Don't drink alcohol
- Don't swim alone
- Don't swim after dark
- Use beaches with lifeguards
- Don't use inflatables in rough seas
- Avoid jellyfish
- Try and watch the children at all times
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