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Just when you thought it was safe to lay out on the sand, there’s a growing threat that’s ruining beachgoers' fun in the sun.
It’s flying beach umbrellas, and at least two people have been impaled by the colorful sun shades in recent weeks.
On July 16, on the Jersey Shore, a woman was struck in the ankle after a gust of wind ripped a nearby umbrella out of the sand.
And a few days ago it happened again, in Ocean City, Maryland, where a flying umbrella impaled a woman in the chest.
Both women are recovering, but umbrellas injuring people is a problem.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 3,000 people each year are rushed to emergency rooms for injuries involving umbrellas.
On Thursday, TODAY’s Jeff Rossen visited the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety in South Carolina to demonstrate how even modest winds can enable these umbrellas to come loose. Jeff and his team also spoke with several lifeguards and industry experts to demonstrate a few ways you can avoid having your seaside vacation turned into a big beach bummer.
Here’s the best way to properly secure a beach umbrella, according to Rossen and his team.
- Take your umbrella and bury it in the sand by using a rocking back and forth motion. DON’T just stab it into the sand. The rocking motion is key; plus, you should always make sure to read the instructions on your beach umbrella. A good rule of thumb is to bury the umbrella post at least 1/3 of the way down in the sand.
- Once it’s sufficiently buried into the sand, open the umbrella and tilt into the wind so the wind pushes the umbrella into the sand, instead of lifting it out. Keep in mind that the direction of the wind will change throughout the day, so make sure to change the tilt of your umbrella as well.
- Finally, we found a gadget that can give you an extra layer of protection — a sand anchor. Just put your umbrella into the holder, and it will keep it from moving back and forth in the wind.
Beachr Beach Umbrella Sand Anchor, $20, Amazon
These items were handpicked solely by Jeff Rossen and his investigative team. TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY. All prices are subject to change and items could sell out based on the merchant’s inventory.