Yay! It’s my favourite time of year, summer! Summer means beach trips, toes in the sand and lots of pool parties! Woo hoo! What’s not to love?! But just because it’s summer, that doesn’t mean we don’t still need to think about our children’s safety. Summer brings a whole host of new concerns, mainly: water safety. Water safety is essential for a safe and fun summer for the kids. Tell me, are your kids aware of pool pools and water safety tips? Do they know what to do in a drowning emergency? Do they know how to prevent drowning or what to do if a friend is drowning? We need to make sure we teach our kids swimming safety survival skills in the event of an emergency.
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Water Safety Rules for Kids
Did you know, it only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown! I’d much rather be safe than sorry. Most of my water safety rules are universal wherever we go but sometimes you do need to distinguish a few differences at the pool vs the beach.
General Water Safety Rules
- Always tell an adult before you enter the water.
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Always check where the lifeguard is located before getting in the water.
- Never jump on, push, dunk anybody else or engage in horseplay.
- Make sure babies and toddlers are never more than an arms length away from an adult and always under constant supervision around water.
- Wear any necessary safety equipment or flotation devices that are needed for your water activity ex. life jackets.
- Make sure children periodically look around to make sure they know where their parents are located at all times.
- Never jump in the water to save a drowning friend, call an adult immediately.
- It’s never too early to start swim and water survival lessons.
- The adult in charge of supervising children in water should be able to swim and should know CPR.
- Understand the signs and symptoms of drowning. Be aware that there is still a possibility of dry drowning or secondary drowning and know what to look out for.
Pool Rules for Pool Safety
- Never run on a pool deck. You can easily slip and fall in.
- Never push or horseplay on the pool deck.
- Don’t leave your toys around the pool deck after swimming- younger siblings may be intrigued and fall in.
- Always close the pool fence behind you and make sure it’s secure before you walk away.
- If using an inflatable pool, always empty and turn it over when you’re done.
- Always check with an adult if diving is acceptable or not. Child may not be aware of shallow waters.
- Keep all electronics/electrical equipment away from the pool area.
- No dunking or rough play in the water.
- Do not jump in to try to save a drowning friend, call an adult for help immediately.
Beach Water Safety Tips
- Be aware of water currents. Children should be taught about water currents and how easily they can get pulled in.
- Teach children about rip tides that can pull them from below and how to remain calm and swim to safety.
- Always ask an adult’s permission before you get in the water and never swim alone.
- Have a rule in place about how deep they can go. Ex. No more than knee deep water.
- Remind children to constantly keep checking water depth. It’s easy to wander in when you’re looking for sea shells or playing.
- Locate the lifeguard before entering the water and try to stay nearby if possible.
- Upon arrival at the beach, check with the lifeguard on duty about any additional water safety tips and the water condition. Not all water is swim safe.
- Keep an eye on the lifeguard to stay alert of beach flags and swimming safety signs.
- Stay alert and listen for yelling or whistle blowing.
This post only covers water safety but if you’re looking for more tips and hacks for taking kids to the beach, I’ve got another post for that.
How Do You Teach Kid’s Water Safety?
How you teach water safety will largely depend on the age of the child and their level of understanding. Obviously, the aim here is to educate, not scare but being informed and aware of the risks are key.
One of my go-tos, no matter what I’m trying to teach, is books. Finding age appropriate books is a great way to illustrate water safety for all kids. It’s a fun way to get the message across and many include links to videos and songs as well.
One that comes to mind is Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim which is a best-seller on this topic with over 20 000 sold.
Another great read by the Joshua Collingsowrth Memorial Foundation is Josh the Baby Otter.
It may even be beneficial to review real life drownings that have occurred in the news and help the child understand what went wrong and how they can make good choices that keep them safe.
Another way to teach pool and water safety is through play. Once you teach the rules, you can have the children “practice” or act our the scenario and say what is the right thing to do in that situation.
By this, I don’t mean just having them memorize and repeat the rules over and over again (unless you’re punishing them for something LOL). Rather, I mean review the safety rules EVERY SINGLE TIME before your water adventures.
It takes children several times to absorb information. Go over safety rules as often as you need to keep it fresh in their minds.
Enrolling your child in swimming lessons is another great way to teach them how to stay safe around water. These lessons always include safety tips and advice. It could be beneficial hearing them from an authority figure like their swim instructor as sometimes kids just tend to tune you out after a while.
For a more exhaustive guide on water safety, I highly recommend checking out the American Academy of Pediatric’s Swim Safety Tips. They have a swim safety tool kit online to teach about swim safety and videos with real life stories that are quite powerful and moving.
I do hope you found this information useful and I hope it helps to keep your child safe. The 2nd highest reason for death in children age 1-4 is drowning. This is so preventable if we take action. Stay safe this summer. Let’s protect our most precious little beings. Have any more tips I missed? Leave me a comment below.
Tuesday 28th of January 2020
I appreciate your tip to teach children about riptides if you're going to the ocean. I think it's important to have a first aid kit with you as well. That way, if there are any mishaps, you're prepared to treat potential injuries.