5 Tips for Summer Water Safety
Water Safety Saves Lives: Top Tips for Summer Swimming
When we think of summer, certain images tend to pop into our minds: eating a popsicle on a hot day, going on a car ride with all the windows down, or maybe grilling out on the back porch. There is one thing we all definitely think about: how to beat the heat. As temperature gauges rise outside, people of all ages flock to pools, lakes, swimming holes, and the like to cool off. But being in and around a body of water has its risks, especially for children. Many water-related accidents can be avoided by following a few simple water safety guidelines.
Ensure that the pool you visit adheres to safety regulations and uses appropriate water safety practices. Check that the pool has been inspected and is using proper safety drain covers. Become familiar with the depths around the pool and the points of entry/exit, and look for life-saving equipment, such as poles or rings, in the vicinity.
For additional information on staying safe in residential/private pools, click here.
Parents and Lifeguards Should Be On Duty at All Times
If your child cannot swim safely on his or her own, the parent or caregiver should remain within an arms reach of their child whenever the child is around a pool or body of water, advises Kathryn Stephenson, Aquatics Director at acac in Charlottesville, Virginia. She adds that a swim buddy is always a good idea for swimmers of any age.
“Lifeguards are responsible for everyone in the pool area,” says Kathryn. “They work hard to see things before they happen, but they cannot have their eyes on every person in a pool every second they are in the water. It is important for parents to remain alert and watch their child at all times, too.”
Enroll Your Child in Swim Lessons
Nothing replaces adult supervision of children in and around water, but swim lessons can go a long way to decreasing drowning risk. Children learn more than just strokes in swim lessons, they learn how to be safe in the water. Very young children, even babies, can benefit from early exposure to the water through swim lessons.
“Kids become comfortable in the water and learn life-saving skills in swim lessons. They are taught safety in and around the water as well as how to move in the water, whether learning how to float or swim on their front, back, or side,” says Kathryn. “These water safety skills could one day help them or a friend in trouble.”
Keep Them in Swim Lessons
Instruction beyond introductory skills is recommended for true mastery and to build confidence. With lessons, Kathryn says, we train our muscles to move a certain way. She also emphasizes that learning proper swim skills from the start is easier than trying to undo inefficient swim habits later on.
“Repetition in swimming is much like repetition in other things in life. Most activities are not mastered by trying them just once. We have to try many times to learn how to correctly perform a skill,” said Kathryn.
And while swimming is an activity we most often associate with summer, Kathryn is quick to point out the benefits of swimming year round.
“Swimming is not just a summertime activity. We can build skills and reinforce water safety all year long,” says Kathryn. “The more you practice something, the better your chances of remembering what to do in a dire situation.”
When planning a fun family day at the pool or lake, pack a bag stocked with the essentials and maybe even a few extras:
- Bathing suit
- Goggles and a swim cap or hair ties to keep hair out of eyes
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Sunglasses (a back up pair, too)
- Hat and rash guard for extra sun protection
- Dry clothes to change into
- A cooler with pool-friendly snacks and drinks
- Wet wipes
- Pool toys
- Games to play during break time, such as a waterproof deck of cards
- Waterproof bags or containers for your cell phone, wallet or keys
Here’s to the lazy days of summer and the cool splish splash of the pool. Be safe!