Staying safe on the beach

Welcome to the third in our series of summer first aid tips. On the road, at the beach or in the bush Red Cross first aid trainer, Anthony Cameron says it is always important to know basic first aid.

“When it comes to beach safety” says Anthony “always swim between the red and yellow flags and never swim at unpatrolled beaches or alone.”

“We should be aware of our limitations and not attempt any rescue that is beyond our capacity. We should also refrain from drinking alcohol before swimming and refrain from swimming at night. Alcohol and water don’t
mix” says Anthony.

Let your children know they should not go into the water without a parent present. If the beach is unfamiliar ask a lifesaver or someone local about rips, deep holes and sandbars.

If someone appears to be drowning do not enter the water unless you are specifically trained to perform water rescues. As with other first aid emergency incidents, always follow the basic life support process, don’t endanger yourself and call 000 first to ensure help is sent as soon as possible.

After someone has been rescued from the water , lie them on their side in the recovery position to allow any water to drain from their mouth.

If you sense the person is not breathing, or gasping with gaps between immediately commence chest compressions with 30 pushes on the centre of their chest, followed by two steady breaths into their mouth or
nose, ensuring you always have a seal and their head is tilted back.

For infants less than 12 months, seal your mouth around both their nose and mouth and deliver steady puffs with a neutral head position. Continue thecycle of 30 chest compressions and two steady breaths until help arrives.

If you do not want to give mouth to mouth, chest compressions should still be administered until help arrives as this is the most important way to get blood pumping and oxygen flowing to vital organs and tissue . A common mistake is to not administer CPR at all for fear of using the incorrect method.

“Any effort is better than no effort at all” says Anthony.

To find out more basic life support, download the Red Cross first aid app, always take a Red Cross first aid kit in the car or caravan and better still book into a Red Cross first aid training course. To purchase a Red Cross first aid kit, or to book a first aid training course go online to or call 1300 367 428

The last instalment in our summer first aid series covers tips for a safe family picnic.