Child hospitalized after caught in rip current

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A child was hospitalized in serious condition after he and his father were caught in a rip current Tuesday at Little Talbot Island State Park.

The child got into trouble and the father went to his assistance, according to Jacksonville Fire-Rescue.

The man and child were taken to UF Health Jacksonville. JFRD told Channel 4 that the father was in good condition Tuesday night.

A moderate rip current is expected at the beaches over the next two days.  

"They're a stronger current than most people can swim against and they're carrying the swimmer out to sea, they're usually not very far not a very long current but it's stronger than most people can swim against," said Captain Rob Emahiser.  

Captain Rob Emahiser with Ocean Rescue Jacksonville Beach said it's important swimmers are aware of rip current conditions before they get in the water. 

"There's a strong long shore current from south to north and there are strong rip current especially around the pier, so we advise people to stay in shallow water and definitely as always to not swim anywhere near the pier," said Emahiser.  

Emahiser said if swimmers can't find a life guard to ask about the rip currents, colored flags serve as warning to swimmers about rip currents.  

"The condition flags are standard across the US.  green yellow and red.  Just as you would assume red is dangerous, green is the safest, and the yellow is kind of intermediate. We evaluate the conditions overall, sometimes even consider temperature, long shore current rip currents and make an evaluation in the morning which flags to put up," said Emahiser.  

Emahiser also offered advice to swimmers if they find themselves trapped in a current.  

"Don't panic, swim parallel to shore in the same direction as the long shore current, in this case swim to the north until you're out of the narrow area where the rip current is, and then swim diagonally towards shore. One of the other things is don't forget if you're tired don't forget to wave your arm and signal lifeguards for help."

Rip current conditions are expected to improve by Thursday this week.  

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