Prepare your children in case they get lost at the beach

According to children, it’s not the kids that get lost… it’s the parents. Kids get lost at the beach every day. And they start wandering, looking for you. According to Sylvia, director of the Corolla S.E.A.L.S. session we attended, kids will likely walk down-wind and, eventually, end up at a lifeguard stand. Here’s what you can do to help your children when they can’t find you.

preparing kids for going to the beach

Help your kids identify who the lifeguards are

When you arrive at the beach, sit near a lifeguard station and show your kids what the lifeguards are wearing. At many beaches, the guard’s name is on the chair, so share that with your child to help him be more aware of who will help.

Identify a spot so that your kids will remember where your chairs are

I always showed my kids some nearby chairs, toys and umbrellas. Bad idea. Because, as Sylvia shared, umbrellas move through the day. But if you show a landmark, like a pink house or a special trashcan that won’t move, it’s more likely they’ll stay in your vicinity. Sylvia also recommended tying a special ribbon to the closest stairs or or a post by the entry path as a meeting spot.

Teach your children the name of your house

Many houses in beach towns have names like Blueberry Sunrise and Across the Sand. Find out the name of your home and teach your kids–it’s easier to learn than a whole address. Most beach guard groups can call local communities and to find out if the house is within that community.

Talk about nice mommies

Okay, we all know how important it is to “not talk to strangers.” But in the case that your child is lost, you want her to talk to nice strangers. So instruct your child that, worst case, find a mom with a few  kids and ask her to help to get to the lifeguard.

Call 911

Lifeguards are connected to 911 (on the Outer Banks and, likely, elsewhere.) As soon as you determine that your child is missing, call 911 and explain what your child looks like, what he’s wearing and where you are. They’ll put the lifeguards on watch right away.

Thanks to Corolla Beach Rescue for inspiring this post.

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel ( and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2012, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.


  1. The rebel chick says

    These are great tips! My cousin fell asleep on the beach a few years ago and his 4 year old son wandered off – a MILE down the beach, a lifeguard thought he looked lost and was able to reunite them. My cousin never made the mistake of closing his eyes on the beach again!

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