Spring is here, and soon, the swimming season will be in full swing. Whether you have a backyard pool, love to frequent your community water park, or you’re more of the boating adventure type of family, be sure you’re ready, with safety and gear tips that help you create a fun and safe environment for your children.
Know Your Water Safety
Water safety is more than just knowing where to find the closest lifeguard. When you’re in or near the water with your child, you’re their first line of defense. If you’re at a public pool, chances are the safety rules for the facility are clearly posted. Be sure to read all posted rules and enforce the policies with your children.
In all times when near the water, some basic rules should always be followed by every swimmer, yourself included:
- No running: Pool decks are often wet and slippery, and running can lead to falling and injury. If an injured child falls into the water, they’re less able to self-rescue, even if they are a competent swimmer. Running near a pool or on boat docks is never okay.
- Follow diving rules closely: Diving means going into the water headfirst. If the water isn’t deep enough, diving can lead to significant head trauma or result in drowning. Diving is fun and safe, but only when done under supervision and in designated areas.
- No electronics; no exceptions: When you and your child are around water, put the phone down. People quickly get absorbed into social media, news, games, videos, etc., and can lose track of time and surroundings. Drowning can happen in a matter of minutes. Electronics and swimming do not mix.
- No rough play: Dunking and rough play in the water might seem fun, but they can lead to accidents. It can also heighten the fear for kids and adults who are less confident in the water, and as was stated above, fear can lead to drowning!
- Use pool toys as directed: Pool toys are not life-saving devices. Do not place your confidence in them, and don’t allow non-swimmers to use them.
- Never swim alone: Swimming is an activity that requires a buddy system. Ensure at least one adult who is a confident swimmer in attendance, especially when there is no lifeguard present, and assign a competent swimmer to watch children in the pool at all times.
- Watch the weather: Most people understand that it’s not safe to swim during a thunderstorm. However, other weather conditions can be equally hazardous. If you live in an area prone to excessive heat, you run the risk of getting heatstroke, even when in the water. And a cold snap can lead to hypothermia, even in a heated pool. Be sure that you are conscious of the current and forecasted weather conditions, and cancel your swimming plans in an unsafe weather event.
- Take a break: Swimming is a strenuous activity. Young children and infants who are just learning to swim should spend a maximum of 10 minutes in the water at a time. And even confident, strong swimmers should take periodic breaks. Ensure you and your children stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water while you are out of the pool and seek the shade while you’re resting.
Like all activities, swimming requires some gear. Here’s a basic list of what you’ll need for swimming outdoors, either in your back-yard pool or at a public facility:
- Swimsuits: Make sure your child has a properly fitted swimsuit. Suits that are too baggy or contain ruffles, bows, or straps that can easily come undone are more likely to create a hazard in the water.
- Sunscreen: If you’re going to be outdoors, be sure to apply a waterproof, SPF 50+ sunscreen to any exposed skin. Apply sunscreen before swimming, and reapply at regular intervals throughout the day if you are outdoors for an extended period.
- Pool deck shoes: Non-skid shoes can help prevent falls and keep little feet safe from hot surfaces. Shoes should be worn at all times when out of the water and removed before entering the pool or spa.
- Towel: You should have at least one dry towel per swimmer. Be sure to store your towel within easy reach of where you are swimming, but far enough away that it won’t get wet.
- Hats, sunglasses, and rash guards: For swimmers who are more sensitive to the sun or pool chemicals, extra protection may be needed. Only wear hats and sunglasses outside of the water. Rash guards can be worn at all times, provided they are tightly fitted and don’t balloon or ride up while the wearer is in the water.
Teach Vital Survival Swim Skills
Water recreation can go from delight to disaster in mere minutes, especially if you have family members who don’t know how to swim. A sudden fall into the water can lead to panic, which can quickly become a drowning situation.
The Survival Swim App can be used to teach anyone basic swimming and floating skills to help prevent drowning. Starting as young as six months old, parents can teach children water safety basics. You don’t even need a pool — you can start in your bathtub to teach your non-swimmers how to:
- Hold their breath and open their eyes in the water
- Float on their backs to reduce fatigue while kicking toward safety
- Use basic strokes and kicking, and take breaths while swimming
But most importantly, Survival Swim gives people, both young and old, the confidence they need to stay calm and rational in the water, which increases their cases of survival in an emergency.
Learn to swim with Survival Swim today, and start preparing for a fun and safe swimming season. Find an Instructor near you and get the Survial Swim App so you can start teaching Survival Swim to your young swimmers today.