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Ten Important Beach Safety Tips

Parents: review these important safety tips for a fun, healthy, and safe trip to the beach this summer. Lifeguards Need Your Help Too!

If you are looking for relief from the sun as the weather heats up and summer comes rolling along, there is no better place to turn than the beach. Rosewood Beach, named one of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association’s best restored beaches in 2016, has quickly become a popular summer swimming destination for Highland Park families. A day at the beach is meant to be full of fun and laughter.  To ensure your time at Rosewood or any beach is the best that it can be it is important to follow safe swimming practices. Here are ten safety tips to take with you next time you visit the beach:

1) Know how to swim

Knowing how to swim can make a big difference. Studies show that formal swimming lessons can reduce the chance of drowning for children ages 1-4 by almost 88%. Year-round lessons are the best way for children to build their swimming endurance and skills. The Park District of Highland Park offers private and group swim lessons at the Recreation Center of Highland Park. Call 847.579.4044 for more information.

2) Swim with a buddy

Almost all drownings happen because the person swimming was alone. It is always safer to swim with a partner. A partner can help by signaling to a lifeguard or others for assistance. There is safety in numbers, so swimming with a buddy is always the safest choice.

3) Look for warning flags (and know what they mean)

It is very important to know the water conditions and if it is safe to swim. Look for facility warnings and beach conditions. Rosewood Beach uses a flag system: green flag means that there are little to none bacteria levels in the water, and there is no advisory; yellow flag means that there are elevated bacteria levels, and there is caution swimming advisory; red flag mean that there are high levels of bacteria, and no swimming is advised.

4) Be aware of Rip Currents (and how to escape them)

Rip Currents are one of the leading causes associated with beach drownings. A Rip Current is a strong, narrow current that flows out and away from the beach and can present a huge hazard to swimmers. If you get caught in a Rip Current, do NOT fight it trying to swim back to shore. Instead, swim parallel with the shore until you feel less pressure from the current, then start to make your way towards the shore. Rip Currents are very narrow, so a short swim parallel to them can get you out of the current and into safety. Watch for posted signs at Rosewood Beach about wave conditions, and adhere to all warning signs.

5) Look for Lifeguards

Lifeguards are there to protect you. Most drownings occur in unguarded areas. It is important to take note of where lifeguards are when you arrive and before you begin swimming. Knowing where the lifeguard is located can help you see where the current is taking you and to stay in the guarded area. During open swim times (10 Am-6 PM), swimming is only allowed in Life guarded space.

6) Protect yourself from the sun

It is important for everyone, whether it be an adult or a child, to wear sunscreen – especially if you are in the sun all day at the beach. Grab a sunscreen with SPF rated between 15 and 45 and lather it on yourself and anyone else who needs it. It is also important to reapply throughout the day. Another way to protect yourself from the sun is to use an umbrella or other shade to sit under, or wear clothing that covers your body. Remember, even on a day with overcast skies you can still get burned. It is always good to protect yourself.

7) Hydrate and Refuel often

Not only can the sun affect your skin, but it can also drain your energy and dehydrate you very quickly. It is important to drink water and eat throughout the day. At Rosewood Beach there are water fountains available and all lifeguards are trained to deal with heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

8) Wear a lifejacket if necessary, toys do NOT help

Inflatable Tubes, noodles, and other inflatable toys are not good replacements for a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket. Toys do not help to keep swimmers safe, and are not made to work against the tougher lake or ocean water vs the backyard pool. Use US Coast Guard approved life jackets. It is important that a guardian is within arms-reach of any child swimming. If you or a child need a lifejacket, wear a lifejacket.

9) Know the Weather

It is always important to know the weather before heading to the beach. Go to pdhp.org to Check the Park District Rainout Line for updates on the swimming beach, or call the beach at 847.479.3165. If there is any sort of lightning, the lifeguards will have you immediately exit the water and sand area and head for shelter at the Rosewood Interpretive Center. The lifeguards will be there to give updates on when it is okay to go back outside. If inclement weather occurs for longer than 3 hours straight, the beach will be closed.

10) Enter Water Feet First (and protect your head and neck)

It is important to always enter the water feet first, no matter where you are getting in. One can incur serious head and neck injuries by diving into too shallow water and hitting the ground or an object hard. First, walk through the area to check the depth and anything that may be in the way.

Rosewood Beach is located at 883 Sheridan Road, with public swimming hours 10 AM-6 PM, subject to change depending on weather, attendance, and wave conditions. For updates on weather call 847.479.3165 or sign up for the RainoutLine here. For more general information about Rosewood Beach click here. Bring the whole family and have a great day at the beach! (Just make sure to remember your safety tips)

Learn More About Water Safety at the Pool and the Beach Here