How To Keep Kids Safe At The Beach During The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic
There's no ignoring COVID-19 this year, but you and the family can still enjoy some typical summertime activities. It just takes a little planning extra. Here are a few tips to keep kids safe at the beach during the coronavirus pandemic. Even though trips to the beach may look a little different during 2020, you and the family can still have a fun time building sandcastles and playing in the waves.
Before heading out, check the rules and guidelines for your local beach, which can vary a lot depending on where you live. For example, most beaches are open in Florida at the time of writing. Likewise, many beaches and lakefront areas in Connecticut are open, too, although some may prohibit swimming. Check your destination ahead of time so you don't accidentally show up to a closed beach.
If you and the family are up for a trip to the open beach in your area, then here's a few tips to make your visit as pleasant (and safe) as possible. Because if there's one thing you don't want to do on the sand , it's worry obsessively about getting sick. Everybody deserves a vacation from that mental weight right about now.
1. Try Not To Go During Busy Hours
This year, avoiding the crowd is extra important. Large gatherings of people are one of the fastest ways to spread COVID-19, and even outdoor spaces such as beaches are no exception. Try to go at non-peak times, such as the early morning, for the most secluded experience.
2. Bring Your Own Food
Because restrictions that affect the food service industry are changing constantly, don't expect your beloved beach-side restaurant to be open for business. Instead, pack a bunch of snacks or some summer dinners you can eat on the go. This means you won't have to stop for snacks at any place along the way, either. If you do plan on getting take-out or even dining outdoors, keep your mask on whenever possible, bring some hand sanitizer, and maybe even some extra disinfecting wipes just in case.
3. Don't Share Toys With Other Families
2020 may not be the best time to teach your kid about sharing with others. To slow the spread of COVID-19, people should not share items with others who do not live in their home, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means floaties, sand buckets, and any other beach gear should stay with your own household members.
4. Bring Extra Blankets & Beach Towels
Although coronavirus is not likely to survive on sand, as infectious disease physician Gabriela Andujar Vazquez M.D., with Tufts Medical Center, told Romper in a previous article, it's nice to have a little padding between you and the elements. Bring some extra blankets and beach towels to make your beach visit comfy. Plus, you can throw a towel over a bench or other public seating area for an extra barrier.
5. Check Facilities Ahead Of Time
Some of the beach-side facilities that you take for granted may not be available right now. For instance, if the restrooms and sinks are closed, you'll need another way to keep everyone's hands clean. Prepare ahead of time so you don't have any unfortunate surprises.
6. Go In A Small Group & Keep Distance From Other Beachgoers
It's a tough rule, because of course you want to let the kids run along the shore and make friends with other families. But even at a beach, it's important to stay at least six feet away from people you don't live with, according to the CDC. Even outdoors, maintaining social distance is crucial.
6. Practice Social Distancing In The Water, Too
Social distancing is also important when you're splashing about in the waves. When swimming at the beach, stay at least six feet away from people not in your household, as further noted by the CDC.
7. Have Masks On Hand
Add face masks to your checklist alongside beach towels and sunscreen. If the beach does get a bit crowded, making social distancing difficult, then you and the family can put on masks. Just take them off when heading into the water, because a wet face mask can make breathing difficult. (Sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget about the mask when you're chasing a toddler.)
8. Bring Sanitizer
Chances are, hand sanitizer is already part of your daily carry essentials during the coronavirus. However, for this trip it's extra-important. (Because really, the odds of your kid touching something questionable are close to 100%.) Also, wash your hands as soon as possible once your beach trip is finished.
9. Visit A Beach Close To Home
Sure, most everyone fantasizes about venturing to some faraway beach right now, but in reality it's probably better to stay closer to home. Keeping trips within an easy driving range of your home helps eliminate the issues with rest stops and hotel. 2020 is definitely the year of the staycation, anyway.
10. Follow Regular Beach Safety Guidelines
With all the focus on COVID-19, it's important not to overlook the usual guidelines about beach safety for kids. Make sure your kid doesn't go in the water alone (use the buddy system), and keep a close eye on your kid around water). With a little planning and prep work, you and your family can still enjoy a fun day at the beach in the middle of this endlessly unusual year.