Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a dip in the community or backyard pool, you can ensure that swimming is
as safe as it is fun by following a few basic safety tips especially since drowning is the leading cause of injury related death among children ages 1-4.
There Is No Substitute for Active Supervision
· Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention.
· Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be
within arm’s reach to provide active supervision. We know it’s hard to get
everything done without a little multitasking, but this is the time to avoid
distractions of any kind. If children are near water, then they should be
the only thing on your mind. Small children can drown in as little as one
inch of water.
· When there are several adults present and children are swimming, use the
Water Watcher strategy, which designates an adult as the Water Watcher
for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision.
Educate Your Kids About Swimming Safely
· Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you
feel they are ready. Teach children how to tread water, float and stay by the
· Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming. Teach children
that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They
need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow, and
· Whether you’re swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with a partner, everytime. From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
· Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming.
· Teach children not to dive into oceans, lakes or rivers, because you never know how deep the water is or what might be hidden under the surface.
· Do not dive in shallow pools, always enter feet first.
· Remember that swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used in place of a U.S. CoastGuard-approved personal flotation device (PFD). Always have your children wear a life
jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, around open bodies of water or when participating in water sports.
· Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have kids
make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms
straight up; if the life jacket hits a child’s chin or
ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too
· According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of
Boating Safety, babies should not travel on a
boat — including rowboats, kayaks, motorboats,
and sailboats — until they are at the appropriate
weight to wear an approved personal flotation device (PFD). Here’s some more information on how to
choose the right life jacket.
· Hold on to your baby while also wearing your own life jacket. Car seats are not a good option. If the boat
were to capsize, the seat would sink instantly.
· Explain some basic boat rules and have everyone follow them. Children need to understand and follow
rules such as keeping their hands and feet inside the boat at all times and not running on a boat.
· Infants and young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia, so if you are taking a baby on a boat, just take a
few extra precautions to keep your baby warm. If your children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them
tightly in a dry blanket or towel.
· Enroll older kids in a boating safety course. Better yet, enroll with them.
· Get a vessel safety check every year for free from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.