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Top 10 Water Safety Tips to Ensure a Safe & Splash-Worthy Summer with Your Kids

By Emily Henricksen

Summer is fast-approaching, and usually involves day trips to the local pool, picnics in the park, and intense games of tag on the playground. Although this summer will play out a little differently this year, it won’t stop kids’ imagination from flowing. Pool days can happen in the backyard, picnics can be made for imaginary friends, and nature is one big playground to explore.

Despite all the change, some things we know will stay the same: the weather will be hot, and kids love splashing around in the water any chance they get. To help prepare for a safe summer ahead, now is the perfect time to brush up on water safety tips for drowning prevention.

Drowning remains the #1 cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4, taking the lives of three children in the Unites States every day. Even during these unprecedented times, drowning prevention remains a top priority, as more than 70% of childhood drowning incidents occur at homes.

By Jenny McCuiston, co-Founder, Goldfish Swim School

10 water safety tips parents can use as a guide to help prepare for a safe and splash-worthy summer:

1.Learn swim safety skills: Our little ones are smart! Learning key swim safety skills can go a long way – such as properly getting in and out of the pool, going under water, rolling on their back and treading water. Children as young as four months can start becoming comfortable in the water and learning basic swim skills. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cites swim lessons as a beneficial way to help lower drowning rates. At Goldfish Swim School, children ages four months to 12 years can learn water safety and swim skills by specially trained instructors in a safe, child-friendly and fun environment using a research-based philosophy called The Science of SwimPlay®, where children are taught how they learn best – through play!

Since many pools and swim facilities are temporarily closed due to the pandemic, Goldfish Swim School has reimagined swim lessons to provide families across the nation resources to practice water safety anywhere with ‘Goldfish At Home.’ The free, virtual, dry-land swim lesson video series is designed to teach important water safety skills, develop confidence with swimming techniques, maintain momentum on progress made at lessons and help kids stay active while learning something new. Families can participate in these lessons outdoors, in the living room or wherever they are! To access ‘Goldfish At Home,’ simply visit the Goldfish Swim School YouTube page and choose the level that matches your child’s age and progress.

2.Never swim alone: While many of our young ones think they’re all grown up and don’t need a swim buddy, you can re-enforce this rule by explaining this goes for kids and adults alike. Teach your children to always have a buddy in the water – whether it be an adult or peer – at the beach, on vacation or at home, and even when playing with something as shallow as a bucket of water or a sprinkler. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water, so if water is around, make sure someone else is, too.

3.Designate a Water Guardian: Supervision is so important, and one good way to make sure someone is accountable for this role is by designating an official Water Guardian. A Water Guardian’s sole responsibility needs to be keeping an eye on the swimmers. Vigilance is key – no chatting, no checking your phone, no distractions. To make sure your Water Guardians are alert and refreshed, be sure to rotate guardians every 30 minutes.

4.Wear a U.S. Coastguard approved lifejacket: Having a proper floatation device is one of the easiest ways to increase safety in the water. Sometimes it can be confusing when you go to the store to buy a life jacket for your child as there are many different types, but it is vital the life jacket you use has the United States Coast Guard approval on it. Also, there are plenty of different types of life jackets to fit all sizes – be sure to pay attention to proper fit. The fit matters, because if your child’s head or ears can slip down beneath the life jacket, the device won’t be able to work as designed to keep your child’s head above water and allow for proper breathing. 

5.Play it cool and follow the rules: Rules are there for a reason! Sometimes when our little ones are in play-mode, rules fall by the wayside. Review rules together as a family before letting your kids loose to enjoy the water. Water conditions may change depending on the hour of the day or season, there may not be lifeguards on duty during certain times, or something unexpected may present possible dangers – set guidelines for your children from the beginning. It’s even more important to enforce rules when children are playing at home; sometimes they can forget rules apply when they aren’t in a public setting.

6.Throw! Don’t go: Do your kids know what to do in a swimming emergency? Their first instinct may be to go toward the person having trouble in the water. Instead, they should throw a life preserver while calling for help– and don’t go in! That way, they aren’t putting themselves in jeopardy as well and are truly able to help.

7.Temperature Check: Test the water temperature before you get in. Jumping into cold water can shock your body and elevate your heart rate and blood pressure, and also slow your muscles, making it difficult to swim. A simple temperature check can best set your child up for success before getting into the pool. This is especially important if your kids are playing in the backyard with water from a hose – if you fill up a pool, let the sun warm up the water before letting the kids jump in.

8.Install a four-sided fence around any pool or pond: One-sided fences or barriers are helpful, but when children are exploring and wandering, there should not be an option to get around. Four-sided fences with safety latches are the best way to prevent accidental falls into water. With our busy schedules and hectic lives, you might also consider installing door and pool alarms to prevent kids from slipping outside unnoticed.

9.Do not keep any standing water in any circumstances: Make sure kiddie pools are flipped over and empty, buckets are upside down, bathtubs are drained, and toilet lids are closed and locked. Curious minds may fall into anything, and removing small hazards helps prevent major accidents.

10.Never store toys in bodies of water: Storing floatation devices or other pool toys in the water serves as an open invitation to reach in and try to grab it. Having a designated toy bucket or basket outside of the pool prevents slipping and falling into the body of water. It also reminds kids to clean up after playing, which is always a good rule to re-enforce.

For more water safety tips, be sure to visit Goldfish Swim School’s blog, Facebook, or Instagram Page.


About the Author:

Jenny McCuiston is a mother of four, a two-time swimming Olympic Trials Qualifier, and the co-founder of Goldfish Swim School Franchising, LLC,  the premier learn-to-swim franchise concept spanning over 100 locations across North America. Goldfish Swim School provides swim lessons and water safety instruction to infants and children ages four months to 12 years. Classes are offered by specially trained instructors in a safe, child-friendly and fun environment using a proprietary research-based philosophy called The Science of SwimPlay®.

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