A selfie stick saved this girl from a riptide. In case you forget yours, here's how to stay safe.

Taking a dip? Remember this tip.

While plenty of dangers lurk on the beach — weird tan lines, food on sticks, sand in unfortunate crevices — there's one you don't hear much about: riptides. (Pipe down, Vance Joy. No one's talking to you.)

Riptides, or rip currents, are powerful, narrow bands of fast-moving water found on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts and even in the Great Lakes.

Rip currents are incredibly difficult for the average beachgoer to spot, making them highly dangerous. They account for 80% of rescues performed by surf-beach lifeguards and are the cause of over 100 deaths a year.


In fact, in the United States, rip currents are 100 times more deadly than sharks.

In June 2015, a 16-year-old girl and her father made headlines after they were almost swept away by a rip current.

Erynn Johns and her father Derrick tried to swim toward shore, but couldn't make it. Sensing her daughter and husband were in trouble, Jennifer Johns ran to the water, where she too ended up caught in the tide.

What saved the family from an unimaginable fate? A selfie stick.

Yes, haters, a selfie stick.

Erynn was recording video with a GoPro camera attached to the infamous monopod, so the entire event was captured on film.

As she felt herself being swept out to sea, the video shows Erynn struggling to swim back toward her father and the shore.

Unfortunately, she was fighting a losing battle. Swimming toward shore means fighting the current, otherwise known as the Ronda Rousey of moving water — odds are, you're going to lose. In fact, people are usually injured or killed because they tire themselves out fighting the current.

Luckily, Erynn's father, Derrick, was able to grab hold of the stick and guide Erynn toward shore.

Onlookers and lifeguards jumped in to help, and the whole family made it safely back to the beach.

GIFs via Derrick Johns.

Derrick Johns, a former Marine, told The Boston Globe the experience was "total, sheer terror."

Facing a riptide without a selfie stick? Keep calm and swim parallel to shore.

If you're caught in a rip current, do not try to swim toward shore. Instead, since riptides are only about 100 feet wide, move parallel to the shore until you are out of danger, then swim to safety.

Photo by Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images.

Wherever you swim this summer, be mindful of your surroundings and never swim alone.

The buddy system is not just for kids. Always swim with someone, and stick to parks and beaches with lifeguards. Summer days are a lot more fun when everyone gets home safe.

Want to experience a rip current from the comfort of dry land? Watch the footage from Derrick Johns' GoPro in its entirety:

And if you haven't already, go snag a selfie stick. It's banned pretty much every place worth going, but on the off chance you can use it, it just might save your life.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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