Water Safety Tips to Protect Families In and Around the Water

At British Swim School, we are dedicated to teaching water survival skills and aim to protect all families from drowning and near-drowning accidents through education and water safety awareness. While swimming lessons can significantly reduce the risk of drowning, there are many layers of precautions that should be followed to protect children in and around the water. In support of Water Safety Month, we’ve compiled a list of lifesaving water safety tips that should be followed any time your family is near the water!

Appoint a “Water Watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings near any body of water

When children are swimming, there should always be a Water Watcher on duty–an adult whose only job is to watch the pool. No talking on the phone, playing cards, or reading a book! Too many drownings and near drowning accidents happen within a few yards of adults. Drowning, in contrast to common belief, is frequently silent and goes unnoticed.

Use a Water Watcher badge to help you and your friends take turns supervising your kids! The person wearing the Water Watcher badge is responsible for watching the water until the water is either empty of swimmers, or the badge has been transferred to another person, who then becomes the new Water Watcher. The new person will then carry on as the Water Watcher.

Never leave toys near unattended bodies of water

Toys can be tempting for children. Keep toys that are not in use away from the water and out of sight because children may want to reach for them, potentially causing a water accident. This includes the pool, small blow-up pool and even the bathtub.

Empty inflatable pools after each use

Children move quickly. They’re curious and tend to investigate with little or no fear. This can be especially dangerous around water because young children tend to gravitate towards it; whether a pool, bathtub, or another water source. Never leave water in buckets, wading pools, inflatable pools, or any other water source your child may be drawn to. A child can drown in less than one inch of water!

If you’re an inexperienced swimmer, wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket

Small children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets any time they’re near water, including pools and water parks. Everyone – even you – should wear life jackets when near oceans and open bodies of water. Make sure the life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved. You can check if yours are by seeing if there is a stamp on the lifejacket. Also, check the label for weight and size limits to ensure it fits the intended user appropriately. Proper life jacket safety can save lives!

Maintain constant visual contact with children in and around the water

Maintain visual content with children in a pool or pool area 100% of the time. If a child goes missing in or around the house, even in cold weather, always check the pool first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability!

Install a four-sided isolation fence with self-closing and self-latching gates around backyard pools

If your child is drawn to water, take safety precautions to keep him or her away. If you have a backyard pool, install a four-sided isolation fence with self-closing and self-latching gates. Never prop the gate open or leave chairs, tables or kids’ toys near the gate that a child could use to climb over it. In addition, invest in pool and gate alarms to alert you when a child goes near the water!

Post CPR instructions, learn the procedures, and keep a first aid kit nearby

It’s always best to be prepared in case of an unexpected incident. Post CPR instructions near water, learn the procedures and keep a first aid kit nearby. Understand the basics of lifesaving so you can assist in an emergency! Classes are available through American Red Cross and other nonprofit organizations.

If you find yourself struggling in the water, rest your muscles by floating

If you find yourself struggling in the water, rest your muscles by floating. Back floating – a critical water safety and survival skill – is a low energy way to stay above water for an extended period of time. It’s that extra time that will allow a swimmer to either rest then continue to swim or call for help.

Never leave a child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child

No matter how confident you are with your child around water, always pay attention and stay with them at all times. Shockingly, 9 out of 10 drownings happen when a caregiver is present.

Know how to identify swimmers in need

Know the signs of drowning for yourself and others and make sure a phone is charged and available in case of an emergency. If you are exhibiting signs of drowning, stop and float!

It’s never too late to learn water safety and survival skills

Drowning or near drownings can happen to anyone. For many adults, just being near a body of water causes negative feelings – ranging from discomfort to fear – simply because they never learned how to swim. The good news is it’s never too late to learn. It’s a huge benefit to take lessons, so that you are safe in the water and able to help others if necessary!

Teach children to always ask an adult for permission to swim or play in the water

Children should never be in or around the water alone. Use the buddy system and teach children to always ask an adult for permission to swim or play in the water. Beyond supervision, parents and caregivers need to enforce proper safety rules. Both parent and child need to understand their role in preventing accidental drownings.

Always swim with a buddy, especially in natural water environments

Swimming in natural water environments is more challenging than in home pools. Always swim with a buddy and watch out for currents, waves, and underwater obstructions – they’re not just found in the ocean!

Don’t assume that a child that who knows how to swim isn’t a risk for drowning

Don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers or other equipment to make a child “water safe.” And don’t assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t a risk for drowning. Anywhere there is water there is risk of drowning, especially for children. We recommend always using a buddy system, wearing proper life jackets during activities and reviewing the use of safety equipment and emergency procedures!

Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible

Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible and trust the experts to teach lifesaving skills like back floating and moving through the water to safety. While formal swimming lessons should not be seen as “drown proofing,” they can help to reduce the risk of drowning by nearly 90%! Additionally, teaching children to swim at a young age can lead to lifelong skill and enjoyment of the water, as well as many other benefits including social development, fitness and more!

Ready to get started with British Swim School?

British Swim School is the leading provider of survival and stroke development swimming lessons with over 215 pools across the United States and Canada. Whether you’re looking for swimming lessons for babies, toddlers, kids, or adults, British Swim School offers a variety of classes for all ages and skill levels. Learn more about our programs or enter your location online to find a pool near you!

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