5 Swim Safety Tips: Keeping Kids Cool and Safe in the Water This Summer


If you’re try­ing to stay cool — and keep your kids enter­tained — water activ­i­ties are prob­a­bly a key part of your sum­mer rou­tine and a great way to cre­ate last­ing mem­o­ries and fun for the whole family.

But while your kids are see­ing who can do the coolest jump into the water, they may not be think­ing about things like sun pro­tec­tion or stay­ing in the shal­low end.

If swim­ming is on your list of fun things to do this sum­mer, then swim safe­ty should be, too.

Here are 5 swim safe­ty tips to ensure your day in the water is enjoy­able for the whole family.

1. Keep an Eye on All Water Activities

There are many activ­i­ties that kids can do unsu­per­vised. Play­ing a board game or read­ing a book are great ways your kids can enter­tain them­selves with min­i­mal adult super­vi­sion. While many activ­i­ties are good for kids to do on their own, swim­ming is not one of them.

There should always be a des­ig­nat­ed adult to active­ly watch chil­dren who are swim­ming in the water.

One of the best ways to keep your chil­dren safe this sum­mer while in the water is to make sure they have the prop­er super­vi­sion. When pos­si­ble, encour­age chil­dren to swim where there is a life­guard on duty and in areas marked for safe swimming.

2. Wear the Prop­er Attire and Flota­tion Devices

When you ride a bike, you wear a hel­met, and when you dri­ve in a car, you wear a seat­belt. In the same way, when doing water activ­i­ties, safe­ty gear is key. For exam­ple, depend­ing on the activ­i­ty, loca­tion, and your child’s swim­ming abil­i­ty — wear­ing a per­son­al flota­tion device, like a life jack­et, might be recommended.

Who Should Wear a Per­son­al Flota­tion Device — And When?

  • Chil­dren (and adults) who are not strong swimmers
  • Every­one — regard­less of age — when on a boat

There are many dif­fer­ent types of per­son­al flota­tion devices, and they don’t all pro­vide the same lev­el of safe­ty. In fact, what many peo­ple might auto­mat­i­cal­ly think of — water wings or pool float­ies” — are actu­al­ly not the safest option and are not approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Coast Guard-approved life jack­ets are the best option and should be matched with appro­pri­ate adult supervision.

In addi­tion to a per­son­al flota­tion device, oth­er pro­tec­tive gear can help your chil­dren have fun while in, on, or near the water. Sun­glass­es and gog­gles can help pro­tect their eyes, and water shoes can help pro­tect their feet.

3. Enroll Your Kids in Swim­ming Classes

While per­son­al flota­tion devices are essen­tial to keep your child safe in the water, they are not a replace­ment for know­ing how to swim.

Accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics, swim safe­ty reports show that for­mal swim lessons for chil­dren 1 year and old­er reduce the risk of drown­ing — which is the num­ber one cause of injury-relat­ed death for chil­dren ages 1 to 4. In fact, chil­dren can be enrolled in swim class­es as ear­ly as just one year old.

Swim­ming lessons can help young chil­dren know how to tread water, float, and find an exit point from the water — all cru­cial swim­ming skills. Not only can swim­ming lessons make chil­dren more con­fi­dent in the water and pro­vide some peace of mind for you right now, but these skills will last them all their lives.

4. Be Your Best Lifeguard

You may think you have to be a life­guard to ben­e­fit from water safe­ty train­ing. In fact, dif­fer­ent cours­es can be ben­e­fi­cial for any­one who works in, plays in, or just loves the water. No one wants to expe­ri­ence a water-relat­ed acci­dent — but hav­ing the skills to respond if you do can make a big difference.

To help you brush up on your own water safe­ty, con­sid­er tak­ing a local life­guard, water safe­ty, CPR, or swim­ming class for your­self. This can help you feel more con­fi­dent in your own abil­i­ties — and your abil­i­ty to help oth­ers in case of a water-relat­ed emergency.

The Amer­i­can Red Cross offers life­guard cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and water safe­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­tion year-round at loca­tions all across the country.

5. Don’t For­get Sun Safety!

When think­ing about water safe­ty, it’s not just the water you need to con­sid­er, but the sun, too. Spend­ing a long day in the water can feel refresh­ing and fun… until you come home to a painful sunburn.

UV rays from the sun can be dam­ag­ing to your skin — both in the short-term (like a sun­burn) or in the long run (like with skin can­cer). In fact, 20% of Amer­i­cans receive a diag­no­sis of skin can­cer by their 70th birth­day. But pro­tect­ing your skin is easy to do from a young age and through­out your child’s entire life.

Wear­ing at least SPF 30 sun­screen — and reap­ply­ing at least every 2 hours — can pro­tect your child’s skin and keep them safe and healthy dur­ing a long day in the water and sun.

Make a Splash With Swim Safety

As an adult, swim safe­ty might be sec­ond nature for you. You may know how to float on your back or how to tread water — and you prob­a­bly don’t need some­one to remind you not to dive into the shal­low end of the pool.

While swim safe­ty tips may be just anoth­er part of your sum­mer rou­tine, it takes time for chil­dren to learn and remem­ber these lessons. That’s why it’s not only impor­tant to prac­tice safe water habits but to talk about them, too.

What might be the hun­dredth reminder to wear a life jack­et today, can be the reminder that keeps your child safe for the rest of their life.

No mat­ter the weath­er and no mat­ter the sea­son, Duly Health and Care is here for your fam­i­ly. Find a pedi­a­tri­cian near you, or call your pre­ferred loca­tion to meet with a provider today.

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