Playing in and around the water can be so much fun for kids and families. But water safety and keeping everyone out of danger at the pool, lake, beach, or other swimming spot is of utmost importance.
Spending a nice hot day swimming or around water can be both fun and safe. Read on for 15 water safety rules every parent should follow.
- Don’t rush
Being in a hurry during your visit to the pool or beach only causes stresses for both parents and children, and can contribute to accidents happening. Reduce anxiety by planning plenty of time for your water activities, without taking on too many commitments before or after. Also plan a little buffer time, for travel to the lake, and getting from the car to your spot near the water.
If your trip to the beach involves a road trip, read up on car safety tips for traveling with kids.
- Pre-apply sunscreen
Applying sunscreen to yourself and your children before arriving at the pool can give you more time to enjoy the water. You won’t have to wrangle the kids for an application when all they want to do is start playing. Doing so helps you abide by the rule of applying sunscreen 15 minutes before exposure to the sun.
- Know water safety skills
CPR, first aid, and AED classes can be found at local pools and through recreation departments. Knowing CPR and other first aid techniques could be a lifesaving skill in the event of a water safety emergency. Visit the Red Cross website to find classes in your area.
- Use approved life jackets
Pool floats and toys are no substitute for life jackets. If you’re going out on a boat, make sure each child under 12 has a life jacket that is appropriately sized for them. Even if you’re just on shore, life jackets are a good idea to protect younger kids who don’t yet know how to swim.
- Go over pool rules
Take a minute to go over the posted pool rules with your children when you arrive at the facility. Let the children know that breaking any rules at the pool will result in a time out from swimming. Point out the lifeguards on duty and tell kids to always listen to what they have to say.
Looking for more ways to keep your kids safe in the sun and water? Read these summer safety tips to protect your children.
- Eyes wide open
Make sure your kids learn to swim without goggles and are comfortable opening their eyes underwater. This skill could keep them safe by allowing them to see if they fall into the pool, or find themselves trapped under a raft, or in another water safety emergency.
- Pool toys are not life jackets
Never use swim assistant devices or toys in place of life jackets. Also never leave a child in the water unattended in a swim device or life jacket.
- Provide shade
Finding a shady spot by the water can help keep your family out of the hot sun. Or use tents or umbrellas to make shade when there is none. If you have infants, keeping them out of the sun is important. Also consider play yards to keep your really little ones away from the water’s edge.
- Leaving children unsupervised
Whenever you’re at a guarded beach or pool, follow all instructions for swimming safety. Don’t leave children unattended to swim unless they are at the age allowed by the swimming facility. Of course, even when guarded, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your kids in the water. An extra set of eyes never hurts.
- Practice teamwork
A day of swimming is a great time to practice water safety and teamwork. Show children how to help one another when they get tired, and to always be aware of where other people on their “team” are. If they notice someone has gone missing, instruct them to tell an adult immediately.
- Take breaks
We all know how kids like to go, go, go. Make sure your children take breaks from swimming. Tired swimmers are at risk for water safety emergencies. Also remind your child to drink plenty of water (not pool or lake water!) to stay hydrated.
- Keep your kids under constant supervision
Never let children go to an unguarded pool alone, even for just a few minutes. Even if a lifeguard is on duty at the beach or pool, you should also keep an eye on your kids while swimming.
- Get help
Know your limits and how many children you can safely watch while at the beach. Enlist a friend or family member to go with you—don’t go without the proper amount of help to watch each child.
- Make a plan
Create a water safety plan for your family so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. Go over how to dial 911, and where the nearest phone is at the pool or beach. Use a buddy system so everyone in the family accounts for one another.
- Go often
Kids who are exposed to water more often become comfortable around water. Take your kids to swim whenever you can, sign them up for swimming lessons, and otherwise encourage them to be comfortable in the water. The stronger swimmer your child is, the better prepared he or she is in the event of a water safety emergency.
Whatever kid of water fun you’re planning, have fun! But keep these water safety tips in mind so your whole family will be safe and sound.
Main Photo By: Jim Larrison, Septemer 1, 2015 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
In-Copy Photo By: Caninest, September 1, 2015 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.