7 Tips For Keeping Kids Safe Around Water

Safe Around Water


Water activities are a favorite pastime for many families, offering fun and a great way to stay active. However, ensuring children are safe around water is crucial. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for children, making water safety a top priority. Here are seven essential tips to help keep kids safe around water.



Supervision Is Key

The most important factor in keeping kids safe around water is constant supervision. Children should never be left unattended near water, even for a moment. Whether at the pool, beach, or even in the bathtub, having an adult present can prevent accidents and respond quickly if an emergency arises.


Designate a “Water Watcher” when in a group setting. This person should avoid distractions like reading, using a phone, or engaging in lengthy conversations. Rotating this responsibility ensures that fresh eyes are always on the lookout, maintaining constant vigilance over the children.



Safe Around Water



Teach Children to Swim

Teaching children to swim is one of the best ways to ensure they are safe around water. Swimming lessons can start as early as infancy and provide children with the skills they need to navigate water safely. Knowing how to swim can significantly reduce the risk of drowning.


Look for certified swim instructors who can provide age-appropriate lessons. In addition to basic swimming skills, lessons should cover essential water safety practices, such as floating, treading water, and recognizing hazardous situations.



Use Proper Safety Gear

Proper safety gear is essential for keeping kids safe around water. Life jackets are a must for young children and non-swimmers when they are near or in water. Ensure the life jacket fits correctly and is approved by the appropriate safety standards.


For swimming in open water, such as lakes or oceans, life jackets provide extra safety. Pool toys and floats should not be relied upon as safety devices. Instead, they should be used under supervision and not as a substitute for a life jacket or proper swimming skills.



Install Barriers and Alarms

Installing barriers and alarms can help prevent unsupervised access to water. For homes with pools, a four-sided fence with a self-latching gate can keep children from entering the pool area without an adult. Pool covers and alarms provide additional layers of protection.


Ensure that doors and windows leading to the pool area are secure and have alarms to alert you if they are opened. These safety measures can give you peace of mind, knowing there are multiple layers of protection in place to keep children safe around water.



Educate About Water Hazards

Educating children about the potential hazards of water is crucial for their safety. Teach them about the dangers of running near the pool, diving in shallow water, and swimming in unfamiliar or unsupervised areas. Children should understand that they should never swim alone.


Explain the importance of following posted rules and signs at pools, beaches, and other water bodies. Encourage them to ask for permission before entering the water and to always let an adult know where they are going and what they plan to do.



Learn CPR and First Aid

Knowing how to perform CPR and basic first aid can save a life in an emergency. Parents, caregivers, and anyone responsible for watching children around water should be certified in CPR and first aid. These skills are invaluable in the critical moments before professional medical help arrives.


Many organizations, such as the American Red Cross, offer CPR and first aid courses. Regularly refreshing these skills ensures you are prepared to act quickly and effectively if an emergency arises, increasing the chances of a positive outcome.



Create a Water Safety Plan

Having a water safety plan in place can make a significant difference in preventing accidents. Discuss and establish rules for water activities with your children. Make sure they understand the importance of these rules and the consequences of not following them.


Include guidelines such as always swimming with a buddy, staying in designated swimming areas, and avoiding rough play in the water. Reviewing the water safety plan regularly keeps it fresh in their minds and reinforces the importance of staying safe around water.



Practice Safe Diving Techniques

Diving can be one of the most dangerous activities around water if not done correctly. Ensuring that kids understand and practice safe diving techniques is crucial to prevent serious injuries.


Check Water Depth: Before diving, always check the water depth to ensure it’s deep enough to dive safely. A depth of at least 9 feet is recommended for diving. Teach children to never dive into shallow water or areas where the depth is unknown.

Feet-First Entries: Encourage children to enter the water feet-first, especially in unfamiliar areas. This practice helps prevent head and neck injuries. Reinforce the importance of diving only in designated areas and following all posted safety signs.



Lifeguard watching over pool



Supervise Water Play Activities

While playing in and around water is fun, it can also present hazards if not supervised properly. Ensuring that all water play activities are monitored can help prevent accidents.


Designated Play Areas: Set up designated areas for different water activities, such as swimming, diving, and water games. This organization helps prevent collisions and ensures that everyone has enough space to enjoy their activities safely.

Active Participation: Adults should actively participate in water play with children. Not only does this ensure safety, but it also makes the experience more enjoyable and engaging for the kids. Being present and involved allows for immediate intervention if a situation becomes unsafe.



Implement Strict Pool Rules

Having clear and enforceable pool rules is an effective way to maintain safety around water. These rules should be communicated to all pool users and strictly enforced to ensure compliance.


No Running: One of the most important rules is no running around the pool. Wet surfaces can be slippery, leading to falls and injuries. Make sure children understand the importance of walking carefully around the pool area.

No Roughhousing: Rough play, such as pushing or dunking, should be prohibited. Such activities can easily lead to accidents and injuries. Encourage kids to play gently and be mindful of others in the pool.



Prepare for Natural Water Hazards

Swimming in natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, presents unique challenges and hazards. Preparing for these can help keep children safe around water in outdoor settings.


Understand Currents and Tides: Teach children about the dangers of currents and tides. They should know how to identify rip currents and what to do if they get caught in one. Swimming parallel to the shore is the best way to escape a rip current.

Wildlife Awareness: Educate children about the potential presence of wildlife, such as jellyfish, snakes, or other marine animals. They should know not to touch or disturb wildlife and to alert an adult if they encounter any potentially dangerous creatures.



Conclusion: Safe Around Water

Ensuring that children are safe around water involves a multifaceted approach that includes supervision, education, and the implementation of strict safety measures. By practicing safe diving techniques, supervising water play activities, implementing clear pool rules, and preparing for natural water hazards, parents and caregivers can significantly reduce the risks associated with water activities.


Building a Safety Culture: Creating a culture of safety around water is essential. This involves regular discussions with children about the importance of water safety, setting a good example through vigilant supervision, and continuously reinforcing the rules and practices that keep everyone safe. Making water safety a consistent part of family conversations ensures that children understand its importance and are more likely to adhere to safety guidelines.


Community Involvement: Engaging with the community can further enhance water safety. Local swim classes, community centers, and safety organizations often provide valuable resources and training. Participating in community programs can reinforce the lessons taught at home and provide additional support in ensuring children’s safety around water. These programs also offer opportunities for children to practice their swimming skills and learn from professionals.


Emergency Preparedness: Preparedness for emergencies is another critical aspect of water safety. Ensure that all family members, including older children, know basic water rescue techniques and understand the importance of calling for help in an emergency. Having a well-stocked first aid kit and knowing how to use it can make a significant difference in the outcome of an accident.


Regular Reviews and Updates: Safety measures should not be static. Regularly review and update your water safety rules and practices as your children grow and their swimming abilities change. As children become more skilled swimmers, introduce more advanced safety concepts and ensure they understand the reasons behind each rule. Continually adapting your approach helps maintain an environment where water safety is always a priority.


By focusing on these comprehensive strategies, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for water activities. Prioritizing these safety tips helps create a secure environment where children can enjoy the water with confidence and peace of mind. With the right preparation, vigilance, and education, parents and caregivers can ensure that their children stay safe around water, allowing them to fully enjoy the many benefits and joys of swimming and water play.