Growing up in the Northeast, we experience the four seasons in a way that most of the country does not. Our spring is quite short and filled with rain, the fall is beautiful with changing colors of the landscape and the winter feels never-ending with snow banks that don’t fully melt until well into April. But the summer… oh the summer!!! Hot and humid but we don’t mind because we have the Jersey Shore!
Going “down the shore” is as American as apple pie. From boardwalks and funnel cake to sand castles and boogie boarding, the Jersey Shore has something to offer anyone no matter what age. But the summer of 2017 has been fraught with tragedy on the beaches of New Jersey with more than 5 people drowning in the waters of the Atlantic and even more near-drownings.
Mid June was tragic for the Hernandez family of Atlantic County who saw two teenage cousins get pulled under by strong currents, both girls losing their lives. There were also deaths in Belmar and Monmouth County - again young lives cut short due to strong currents and rip tides.
As the mother of 4 young children, going to the beach is a summer tradition but is never without worry. What used to be fear of jellyfish has progressed to fear about water safety with almost weekly news stories of the latest fatalities up and down the coast of New Jersey.
What can we do as parents to protect our children while not causing irrational fear of the water and preventing them from having good, old fashioned fun?
Water Safety - always position your family in front of the life guard and make sure the kids don’t stray from their sight line
Supervision - keep in mind that the life guards are not just their watching YOUR kids, they are following dozens. Never let your kids go unaccompanied to the water - they must always be under your watchful eye
Follow the Flags - red flag, yellow flag or green flag, these are providing you with the same information as a traffic light. Green is safe, yellow proceed with caution and red - spend your time of the water!
CPR / AED certification - CPR training is your safety net, it’s what you need By knowing how to provide child CPR and adult CPR, you can keep your family and others safe in case of a near drowning and prevent another fatality