Going to the beach with children can be a stressful experience, particularly in the school holiday’s when it is packed.
I have lived in Bournemouth for many years and am a big fan of the LV Kidzone scheme which runs through the school summer holidays was first launched back in 1996.
The scheme works by giving children free colour-coded wristbands that match-up with clearly marked sections of the 7 mile long seafront. Families write their contact numbers on the wristbands and sit in the marked sections to allow beach staff to reunite them if they accidentally get separated throughout the day.
The scheme covers a four and a half mile stretch of the seven mile beach and runs throughout the school summer holidays. LV= is the overall sponsor of the scheme and works in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council to run it with the RNLI lifeguards, seafront services staff and local police to ensure lost children can be found as quickly as possible, and with minimal distress to them and their parents.
Last year a staggering 4.2 million people visited Bournemouth beach and nearly 42,000 wristbands were given out which resulted in 166 lost children being reunited with their parents, in an average time of just 6 minutes and 34 seconds. I use the scheme every year and it helped me find Kian a few years ago when he wandered off (as they do).
With up to 100,000 visitors a day to Bournemouth’s beaches, especially during the Air Festival, it’s a quick and effective way for LV= KidZone staff, RNLI lifeguards and the police to reunite missing children with their families and we were invited to an event on Bournemouth beach to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
With a delicious picnic and fun games on offer, including inflatable racing, running in flippers, cricket, a treasure hunt and a limbo the kids had a great time, even winning some of the challenges and being rewarded with medals and trophies.
When visiting any beach, whether at home or abroad, it is important to remember to keep safe and we always follow these rules from the RNLI:
1. Always swim at a lifeguarded beach
2. Swim between the red and yellow flags
3. Never swim alone
4. Know your beach safety flags
5. Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
6. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
7. If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard call 999 or 112 and ask for
the Coastguard (in the UK)
8. Find out about the beach you’re going to before you visit
9. Check tide times before you go
10. Read and obey local hazard signs
We are also booked on to a swimsafe course which teaches children how to swim in the sea and gives them vital tips about the difference in swimming in open water compared with a swimming pool as it is very different learning to swim with tides.
Do you enjoy visiting the beach in the summer, what are you top tips for staying safe?