What are your family’s plans for this swimming season? You could head to the pool, the nearby lake, or the beach! No matter where you decide, make sure your family knows how to be safe around the water before you start to splash.
Water safety is very important this time of year – as most of us will go for a swim at least once or twice this summer.
Here are 7 water safety tips to keep your family safe the next time you go swimming:
1. Always enter the pool feet first
Never head first. You could hit your head on the bottom of the pool, risking hurting your neck or spine. These injuries could be permanent. If you jump in feet first and hit the floor, you can bend your knees to mitigate any injury.
2. Floaties can fall flat
If a child doesn’t know how to swim, many people believe a floatation device like water wings will save them from drowning. These devices include the disclaimer “not a life-saving device,” and are prone to deflating. Certain life vests are a fine choice as an extra layer of security, especially if your child is not a strong swimmer, but do not mistake it for a solution.
3. Pair your child with a buddy
Even strong adult swimmers should never swim alone. Pairing a child with a buddy is a great tactic, because if something happens to one child, the other can go get help. However, you should never completely trust a child’s life to another child. You still need to keep your eye on the two of them, especially if your child and their buddy like to play rough.
4. Drowning can happen in crowded areas
You may assume that a child is safe because there are a lot of other people in the pool. More eyes might lead you to believe that there is a greater likelihood that someone would see if a child began to struggle. On the contrary, many drowning incidents occur when plenty of people are around. Never assume that someone else is watching your children when they’re in the water!
5. Be a distraction-free water-watcher
Part of the role of watching as the children play in the water is to be free of distractions. This means no books, and no phone. Keep your eyes on the water and on your kids. If you need to take a break, make sure a trustworthy adult knows that they need to take over water-watching until you return.
6. If a child is missing, check the water first
Seconds count! If your child is missing, the first tendency can be to look in places where you most expect them to be. If there is a nearby body of water (such as a backyard pool, pond or fountain) always make sure that is where you look first, even if they were not supposed to be near the water. Once a child is submerged, seconds could mean the difference between death or disability caused by drowning.
7. Sign your child up for swim lessons
Swimming lessons are one of the best ways to prepare your child for swimming or even an unexpected fall into a body of water. When a child knows how to swim and float on their back, they can help themselves if they accidentally fall in the water by swimming to the edge of the pool or rolling over onto their back if they become exhausted. The ability to swim and float on their back could save their life. For an extra layer of protection, make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim well in case there is an emergency and someone needs to jump in after someone else. Children who receive formal swim lessons are less likely to drown – in fact, formal swimming lessons reduce drowning risk by 88% among children 1-4.
Don’t forget to share this article with your friends so they can be water-safe too!