10 Essential Swimming Safety Tips for Kids
Nothing says summer like swimming! Whether you spend the day at the pool or a sandy beach, swimming is a favorite pastime the whole family can enjoy.
As parents, we need to not only consider how we will keep our children’s skin protected from the harsh UV rays of the sun, but also how we can take the necessary precautions to ensure our family stays safe in the water.
Here are ten swimming safety tips you will want to review before you pack up your towels and sunscreen and head to the beach or local swimming pool.
A Few Swimming Safety Statistics
Before we dive into our swimming safety tips, it is important to understand the serious risk open water can pose to children and teens.
According to Safe Kids, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries, drowning is the leading cause of accidental deaths in children ages one to four, which accounts for approximately half of the 800 fatal drowning incidents in children under seventeen.
Children younger than three also represent 60% of nonfatal drowning injuries.
This information isn’t pleasant to read, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there. It takes more than just a watchful eye to keep your kids safe when swimming.
1: Pick a Water Watcher
Never leave children unattended whether they are near or in water. Someone should always have their eyes on them. If you want to spend time relaxing or reading a book, designate a water watcher in your family.
This can be an older sibling or friend. As water watcher, this person keeps an eye on your child while they are in the water at all times. Do not count on a lifeguard to be your water watcher, especially on a busy day.
2: Start Swimming Lessons
Enroll your children in swimming lessons as soon as they feel comfortable. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports children 4-years-old and up learning to swim. Proper swim training has shown to reduce the risk of drowning by 88%.
Babies as young as six months may be introduced to water play under strict supervision.
3: Use Flotation Devices
Pool noodles and various “floaties” may seem like a fool-proof way to keep your little ones safe in the water. However, while these items are better than nothing, you do not want to take any chances. Go for a life jacket that has been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
If you think this is a tall order, think again. Many companies sell USCG approved life jackets and a reputable life jacket provider will know what it means and have options available.
You can also check out this brochure from the USCG about how to find a life jacket that is right for your activity and age.
4: Stay Away from Drains
Pool drains do not actually drain away water; instead, they use suction to pull water from the pool, through your filter, and back out again. Unfortunately, pool drains can be dangerous. It is easy for hair, jewelry, or clothing to become sucked towards the drain.
Teach your children to recognize pool drains and to avoid them when swimming. If installing a permanent pool at your home, make sure your pool drain covers are up to date.
5: Ask Lifeguards About Conditions
Nearly all public beaches have warning systems and condition signals to let you know how dangerous the water is that day. When you decide to go to the beach, park your party near a lifeguard and ask them what the conditions are like.
They can give you important tips for swimming safely in the water that day.
6: No Diving
Never dive into a body of water not specifically designated for diving. This includes diving under waves or in the shallow end of a pool.
Diving headfirst into a shallow body of water can lead to neck injuries and paralysis. If not watched, a person can become unconscious from diving into a sandbar or the bottom of the pool and drown.
7: Take Consistent Breaks
Children do not often recognize their own limitations. An entire day at the pool or beach? It is any kid’s dream! However, their growing muscles may get tired much earlier than they realize. In a troubling situation, you want your child’s muscles to power through.
Take consistent breaks to ensure everyone stays strong and rejuvenated in the water. A break is also a great time to rehydrate and reapply sunscreen.
8: Keep Pools Enclosed
Build a secure fence or gate around a permanent pool. Within just a few minutes, a toddler wandering to the water’s edge can slip in. A few extra steps for entry can reduce the risk of drowning for your entire family.
Never leave a non-permanent pool, such as a kiddie pool, unattended.
9: Learn CPR
While we hope you will never have to face a threatening water injury, it is important for you and your family to be prepared for any situation. Learn CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in the event of an emergency.
Contact your local Red Cross, public pool, or hospital for more information on how to enroll.
10: Know What Drowning Looks Like
If you have ever watched a movie where someone is drowning, chances are you’ve seen a lot of splashing and body movement. This could not be farther from the truth.
A person who is truly drowning is desperate for air and losing muscle strength. Watch out for these signs of drowning so you can react quickly:
- Silence. The person does not have breath to call to anyone.
- Stillness. The person’s muscles are failing, so there will not be major kicking or waving.
- Stretched Arms. A person’s arms will naturally stretch out to the sides in an attempt to keep the body afloat.
A Commitment to Safety
We hope these tips help you and your family feel more confident in your personal safety as you set out on your summer adventures. Here at HydroChic, we are committed to helping women of all ages feel confident and covered as they swim and exercise.
This post was written by Jenny Silverstone, the primary author of Mom Loves Best, a research-driven parenting blog that aims to educate parents on essential topics such as swim and safety as well as healthy childhood development.
The above article was contributed to HydroChic by a third party. HydroChic has not checked, and accepts no responsibility for, the accuracy of the information or recommendations made therein, and any reliance placed thereon is entirely at the risk of the user.