By Mary Dawes

Parenting Australia

Sun, sand, swimming and the salty ocean. It must be almost summertime!

With summer just around the corner, many of us are thinking about holidays and long hot days by the beach with friends and family. For those not lucky enough to get to the beach, there’s always the local swimming pool. And don’t forget the ice cream!

How many of you have been diligent in applying sunscreen all over but forgot the tops of your feet. Ouch!

Ensuring that you lather yourself from head to toe in sunscreen will take care of this. If you do get sunburnt, there are some great Aloe Vera gels that are available in your supermarket. Keep it in the fridge so it’s nice and cool when applied directly to sunburnt skin.

And there’s nothing worse than getting stung by a blue bottle or stingray. In the event that a sting occurs, it is currently recommended to immerse the area in hot water – not too burn! But just so it can be tolerated (yet many people have their own suggestions and in the event of no hot water, ice packs or cold water might also be effective).

Kids love exploring the rocks and other places along the seaside. This is a place where, if kids are not careful, they can cut their feet on rocks or even barnacles. Your kids might even find in the rock pools, the very cute (but not very cuddly!) Blue Ringed Octopus. The message here is “look but don’t touch” and if your child does get stung, ring 000 immediately!

Having fun and creating wonderful memories is what summer means, but we must remember to do it safely.

It is this time of the year where many swimming-related injuries can occur. By taking some simple yet effective precautions you can make sure that you and your family have fun this summer.

My top 5 tips for a safe summer at the beach are:

  1. Put on your sunscreen before leaving the house and reapply every 2 hours.
  2. If you or your child gets stung by a stingray or blue bottle immerse in hot water. Seek medical aid immediately in the event of a sting getting worse of an allergic reaction.
  3. Pack some antiseptics wipes and band-aids (a small red towel or red cloth to camouflage the blood is also a great idea when children cut themselves) with you just in case your child cuts themselves on a rock or shell.
  4. Keep some Aloe Vera gel in the fridge for sunburnt skin.
  5. Always keep an eye on your child when they are in the water. And if they get stuck, ask for help straight away from the Lifeguard.

Don’t forget the Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26 for advice on minor bites or stings.


# Originally published Friday, 7 December 2012 in ‘Parenting Australia’