Ensuring Water SafetyJune 28, 2018
Water safety is a top priority during the summer months, as families cool off at a local pool or head to the beach. Children should be both physically prepared for the water and mentally aware of the rules and responsibilities before diving in.
1. Always Supervise
Children should never be left to swim unsupervised. Even if there is a lifeguard present, that lifeguard is often in charge of watching dozens of kids, and things can become chaotic. Make sure there is always a caregiver watching, especially on a crowded day.
2. Follow Pool Rules
No matter their age, children in the pool should be able to follow that facility’s rules. This includes walking, not running, on the pool’s surface to avoid slipping and falling, never diving in shallow water, and swimming with a buddy. Make sure that horseplay never becomes aggressive: it’s never safe for children to jump on top of one another or hold each other under the water.
3. Take Precautions on Land
On a hot day, it’s equally important to make sure that your child is properly hydrated when spending time by the water. Protect their skin with sunscreen and make sure that they rest in the shade every so often to prevent exhaustion, heat stroke, or a painful sunburn.
4. Before Diving In
If a child is going into the water without an adult, he or she needs to meet a certain level of water safety. They should be able to tread water or float for at least 1 minute, swim 25 yards to the shore or the side of the pool, and be able to exit the pool without using a step ladder. Even with an adult in the pool, children unable to swim should always wear a life vest.
5. Consider Swimming Lessons
Even if you don’t own a pool or live by the beach, swimming lessons are the safest way to equip your child with water safety and survival skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for children aged 4 and up. Contact your local YMCA, American Red Cross, city facilities, or swim school for different options.
For more tips on safety in the heat, click here.