The summer is a great time to enjoy some time in the water, whether it’s at the lake, oceanside, water park, or pool. The following are some great swimming tips to keep your children safe while they’re out, splashing around.
Swimming Safety Tips for Children
#1 – Never swim alone!
Swimming is always safer with a buddy who can call for help should the need arise! Keep your cell phone charged and nearby!
#2 – Never take your eyes off of children around water!
ACTIVELY watch children. Passive presence is never adequate. Children can slip out of sight and into water quickly! Consider a system to ensure a responsible adult is ACTIVELY monitoring children.
Consider using a lanyard with a card or small object attached or some other physical reminder that can be passed off between adults to clearly indicate who is responsible for watching children at all times. Make sure to rotate who is responsible to avoid monitoring fatigue.
#3 – Never drink alcohol!
Never drink alcohol if you are responsible for children around water! Pool parties are particularly hazardous!
#4 – Never trust children to the care of older children!
#5 – Never trust swim floaties!
Flotation devices may easily slip away from children for many reasons. Only use U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Devices (PFD).
#6 – Never swim in undesignated areas!
Never swim in areas that are not designated for swimming or in areas marked dangerous due to surf or currents.
#7 – Teach children NOT to dive.
Feet first is always safer! Developing this habit early will protect them during the times they cannot judge or forget the water depth they are headed in!
#8 – Limit horseplay!
Dunking and jumping onto other children may cause injuries and make it difficult to detect when a child is in danger.
#9 – Stay hydrated!
Ensure kids stay hydrated during long, hot days to avoid cramps, nausea and fatigue!
#10 – Be cautious when visiting others!
Home pools and spas are a real life-threatening hazard to young children. Deflate inflatable pools each night. Ensure pool gates, alarms and home door locks work and have a plan for actively supervising children at all times even inside the home. Should you lose a child even for a moment always check water sources first!
About Courtney Mann, MD
Dr. Courtney Mann serves as the Assistant Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine for the Center for Innovative Learning where she provides physician oversight and clinical leadership for pediatric emergency medicine activities in the SIM Center. She also serves as the program director for the UNC pediatric emergency medicine fellowship, and she is the attending physician in the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department.