By Melissa Babcock
Last week, my daughter and I went on vacation to visit family. During those seven days earmarked for rest, relaxation and sun, you would think safety would have been the last thing on my mind, but alas! I guess you can take the girl away from safety, but you can’t take safety away from the girl.
Our travels took us to southeastern Ontario, where my mom and dad live in a sleepy little lakeside area known just as much for its scorching summer temperatures as it is for its wine. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to beat the heat when you live on the water and, in our case, the beach is a just short walk from my parents’ home. For my little water baby, who treats our bathtub in landlocked Alberta like a pool, this was heaven.
Of course, swimming in a lake is very different from taking a dip in one of our local pools where there are generally lifeguards and controlled conditions. Enjoying one of our many great lakes or even venturing all the way to the coast to enjoy the ocean brings a whole new set of safety considerations to think about:
- Get to know the water. Every body of water is different. On our first trip to the beach, my kiddo and I ventured into the water together hand-in-hand so I could properly assess the conditions and depth. Thankfully, our particular stretch of beach was quite shallow with no current to speak of; otherwise, a trip back to the house for lifejackets may have been necessary.
- Be aware of your surroundings. On this little neighbourhood beach, there are no lifeguards or designated swimming areas – it is strictly swim at your own risk. So I made sure to read any and all signage posted at the beach, to ensure there were no warnings or anything that might change our minds about swimming that day. And since boats and jet skis were scattered along the horizon, we stayed close to the shore and built many sandcastles.
- Beach-going requires PPE. We never hit the sand without a bag filled with sunscreen, hats, towels and bottles of water. It’s easy to get overheated and dehydrated when you’re out in the sun for too long, even if you’re in the water for long stretches of time, which meant many applications of SPF and calling my daughter over to the towel numerous times (much to the annoyance of those sitting near us) for drinks of water.
Keeping all of the above in mind during our trips to the lake meant my daughter and I were able to enjoy ourselves safely. We’re already looking forward to returning next summer!
Have you done any traveling this summer? Any safety tips for vacation goers? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!