The trouble with holidays is that you let your guard down; you relax; and you take it so easy that sometimes you open yourself, and your family, to dangers that you would be well guarded against at home.

At the seaside

Safekeeping It’s best not to take valuables to the beach with you. Leave expensive jewellery; loads of cash and pricey cameras back in the BnB. If you do take anything valuable to the beach, make sure someone reliable will keep it in safe custody whilst you go off to gambol in the waves or to find an ice-cream seller.

Lockdown Find out if your hotel, BnB or guest house offers safe storage facilities, and use them to keep valuables safe. Don’t leave valuables lying around where people can see them. It’s best to use a debit (rather than credit) card for purchases and meals out. Keep a modest balance in your account to curtail losses should your card fall into criminal hands.

All covered Make sure your car is in top running order before setting off. If you’re hiring a car at the coast, take a few minutes to acquaint yourself with the spare wheel, the controls and the basic car insurance that comes as part of the car hire deal.

Shine on Never underestimate the sun. Try to stay out of direct sunlight between 10am and 2pm and make sure everyone liberally applies sunscreen at least after breakfast and again after lunch. Make sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming or showering… even if the bottle says it’s waterproof. Buy the highest SPF factor sunscreen you can. Consider SPF 32 sunscreen the lowest factor and go up from there.

Child’s play Children easily get lost on crowded beaches. Never let them out of your sight. Supervise them carefully in the water and make sure they are well protected against the sun. A big beach umbrella is mandatory for toddlers and babies.

Swimming Only bathe on beaches that have lifeguards in attendance. Never go swimming in unguarded waters, and always stay in the designated bathing area… usually between the flags erected on the beach by the lifeguards. Never go into the water before dawn or after dusk.

Watery Guard against dehydration on the beach and remember that carbonated beverages and fruit juices don’t hydrate your body as well as water does. Tuck a couple of bottles of water into the beach bag to quench your thirst and to make sure you stay well hydrated on the beach.

Feet first Wear a pair of waterproof sandals when taking a shower in beachfront, public showers. The floors of these facilities are breeding grounds for athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. Beach sand can get very, very hot. Wear your sandals to protect your feet against burning, stinging sand, too.

“Article courtesy of iTi News – Santam – Dumezulu Maphophe”