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Beach safety: Rules families should follow

Parents can take one of five parenting sessions

Parents can take one of five parenting sessions offered this summer by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension in Yaphank. Credit: istock

Can you review safety rules families should follow at the beach?

Staying safe at the beach can be more challenging than staying safe at a swimming pool due to the crowds and strength of the ocean, according to the Arizona-based U.S. Swim School Association. The association has compiled guidelines, all of which are seconded by Bobby Hazen, founder of the Long Island Drowning Prevention Task Force and co-owner of Saf-T-Swim, with 12 Long Island locations:

* Introduce your child to the lifeguard stationed in the area. Make a plan to meet there in case you are separated.

* Teach your children to swim in front of the lifeguard station. If swimming with younger children, never be more than an arm's length away, Hazen says.

* Pay close attention to your older children, too, even though there are lifeguards. "The biggest mistake I see at the beach is parents will be sitting on the blanket when their kids are playing in the water," Hazen says.

* Currents will push swimmers down the shore, so remind kids to frequently look to shore and return to the lifeguard spot.

* Heed colored flags near the lifeguard that indicate if the water is dangerous, moderately rough or calm.

* Don't dive into the ocean; go feet first to test the depth to help prevent serious neck or head injury.

* Teach your children how to swim out of rip currents -- swim parallel to the shore until out of the current, and then swim diagonally back to shore.

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