Importance of Water Safety
Swimming and spending time around water are fun for the whole family year-round. Making memories around the pool or at the lake will create lasting memories for kids and parents.
Water safety is extremely important to keep in mind for kids and parents as swimming and spending time near bodies of water can pose dangerous risks. A good practice for parents to uphold is to inform their kids about the risks of water and the safety measures in place that they can utilize to avoid harm. Water safety will prepare you and your kids to be knowledgeable about safety when swimming or around water.
Water Safety Tips for Kids and Parents
Water safety is vital for kids and parents as drowning is the leading cause of death for ages one through four and followed by ages five to nine years old. Approximately 3,960 people drown each year, this is an average of 11 people every day. Drowning can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds and remains in the top five causes of unintentional injury-related death.
When spending time around the pool or other bodies of water, parents play a crucial role in protecting their children and informing them of water safety to prevent them from drowning.
1. Understand the Basics of Swimming
An important water safety tip that both parents and kids should know when around water are the basics of swimming. The basics would include floating and motions to move through the water. Four basic strokes that would be beneficial to learn for kids and parents are the front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly stroke.
Treading water is another great basic practice for swimmers to learn. Treading can be learned at any age, and it is the ability to keep your head above the water while swimming in an upright position. If the case of an emergency, treading can be used until help arrives as it doesn’t require much energy and keeps you afloat.
Learning the basics of how to swim can reduce the risk of drowning. If you’d like further guidance from a certified instructor, the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati offers swim lessons for the whole family.
2. Teach Kids to Ask for Permission to Go Near Water
Whether it’s your home pool, lake, or water park, it’s important to teach your children to ask for permission before going near the water. Although you’re most likely to say yes to their request to go near the water, instilling this practice in your kids will get them into a routine of making you aware that they’ll need your attention to watch them and remain proactive.
Teaching kids to ask permission early on will help them have a better understanding that water safety comes first before they can jump in and have fun.
3. Never Swim Alone & Fully Supervise
Kids shouldn’t swim alone, make sure that a certified lifeguard or parent is present. Lifeguards can consistently monitor the water conditions and safety concerns of public pools and large bodies of water.
If swimming at a personal pool, use the buddy system if a parent is not able to be present to fully supervise. The buddy system is important as kids should have a capable sibling or friend accompany them while swimming so they can look out for each other if something goes wrong.
4. Wear a Lifejacket
Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a Coast Guard (USCG) approved lifejacket when in or around the water. Lifejackets should be used over pool noodles or inflatable floaties for the best overall protection.
Lifejackets save and protect lives around water as they provide buoyancy if you unexpectedly find yourself in water or are a weak swimmer. Lifejackets will also keep you afloat if you find it’s hard to keep yourself afloat due to a strong current or fatigue from heat exhaustion.
When selecting a lifejacket, the jacket must be:
- The appropriate size for the intended user
- Check the label inside of the lifejacket for user weight and chest size.
- Try the lifejacket on in the water to ensure the airway is clear.
- A good fitting lifejacket will be secure, comfortable, and adjustable.
- Appropriate for the intended activity
- If boating, a lifejacket should be always worn when the boat is underway and for water skiing or tubing.
- In good and serviceable condition
- Ensure the lifejacket has no major tears or rips that would take away from the effectiveness of the lifejacket.
Although lifejackets are incredibly useful to protect parents and their kids around water, it’s important not to rely on them completely as knowledge and adherence to water safety are needed when it comes to staying safe all around. Even with a flotation device, it is still essential to supervise swimmers around water to help them stay safe.
5. Teach Safe Ways to Enter Water
Jumping into the water and making a giant cannonball is favored by many. However, jumping into water, especially shallow water can pose many safety risks and possible injuries for kids. Take caution in the area surrounding the water as running to jump into the water can cause slipping and possible injury if the pavement is wet.
It’s important to educate your kids on safe ways to enter the water. If entering a pool, look for a designated entrance, handrail, steps, or ladder.
If entering a lake or other large body of water, it’s a good practice to look down for sharp objects or slippery rocks to prevent falling. Water shoes are a great investment for kids and parents to limit slipping or stepping on other unwanted or unseen items in the lake that could cause harm.
Explore More About Water Safety with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
Proper technique and knowledge of water safety will prepare kids and parents to know what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly. Adhering to these water safety tips will keep kids and parents safe in and near water year-round.
The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is here to help kids and parents learn about the importance of water safety. If you and your family would like to learn more, the YMCA offers swim lessons and CPR certifications for all ages.