By Jake Lanning, West Bay coastguard

Sitting on the beach with my family, I smile to myself with content as I watch my two young boys playing together on the waterline. My trance is broken when I hear a nearby father calling for his child. Normally, at first, a matter-of-fact ‘come here’ type affair, but then the tone changed slightly, the calls increased in volume, became more frequent and ‘come here' became ‘where are you?’ A tinge of panic sets in as both father and mother are on their feet, hands shielding their eyes from the sun, scanning the rocks and scanning the waterline. ‘I’m here daddy,’ comes the overdue reply as the small boy appears from the nearby rocks.

The incident lasted no more than 20 seconds but was enough to inflict sheer panic on the parents, so I thought I would share some top tips on keeping your children safe at the beach this summer.

Where possible, spend your day on a lifeguarded beach and take advantage of a wristband scheme if available. If not, then write your phone number on your child’s hand.

Take a seaside snap. A photo of what your child is wearing is very helpful if a child goes missing and a search is required.

When you arrive at the beach, identify your surroundings so if your child wanders off they can easily find their way back.

Stay Calm. Up to 20 children a day can go missing on a single beach during the summer. Thankfully most are found quickly but it’s always a traumatic experience for the parents.

If your child does go missing then quickly notify a lifeguard if on duty, or dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

Have a great time this summer, but for more information on keeping your family safe please visit