Thank goodness, the weather is improving! And if your family is anything like mine, that means “Mom, can we go swimming?” and “Let’s go to the splash park!” will become commonplace.
Whether you’re in a pool, a splash park, playing water games or enjoying a natural body of water, it’s time to teach your kids about water safety – their lives may rely on it.
There’s no need to scare your kids, but make sure they’re paying attention and there aren’t any distractions when you go through swim safety guidelines with them.
Here are five recommendations to keep everyone safe in the sun this summer.
How To Keep Kids Safe Around Water
Go Over Rules
Whether your children have had formal swim classes or you have taught them how to doggy paddle, it is always a good idea to review the fundamentals. Discuss and even practise keeping their heads above water, rolling on their backs, avoiding running near water, and safely entering and exiting the body of water.
Have Correct Gear
Check with Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, and/or Fisheries and Oceans Canada to ensure that any floating gadget you employ is allowed. A good life jacket should always be preferred over a floaty or water wings. Some personal floatation devices can potentially be harmful if used wrongly since they offer youngsters a false sense of security and teach them to float vertically (which is not how our bodies naturally float).
Fit is also quite crucial. To avoid them slipping out during an emergency, make sure they are wearing the correct size for their weight and that it fits snugly. Never let a young child put the device on by themselves without your supervision.
Wear Bright Colors
This is one that I only recently learned. It is critical that your children wear brightly coloured swimsuits that are not green, blue, or purple. These colours merge into the water and can be difficult to see. If a child is in distress, colours like yellow, orange, and red are significantly more prominent and simpler to identify.
Read Restrictions Around The Water
As thrilling as it may be to dive directly into the body of water you’ve picked, it’s crucial to communicate with your children before you arrive to let them know you’ll be reading any signs around the water together to ensure everyone understands the restrictions. Allow your children to tell you what the signs say and even repeat it back to you using various phrases so you know they understand what the signs imply.
Make sure you create and discuss any family rules you may have, such as telling an adult every time they go back in the water and not swimming past a specific depth/marker.
There is no alternative for adult supervision, no matter how well you prepare your children or how long you talk about water safety. If you’re in a group, appoint someone to keep an eye on the kids at all times, and rotate who this person is on a regular basis. Ensure that this person has no distractions and is completely focused on the children at all times.
When tragedy hits, adults frequently assume that other members of the group are observing.
It’s a terrifying prospect, yet drowning is the biggest cause of unintentional injury deaths among children 1 to 4 years old in Canada, and the second highest cause of preventable death for children under the age of ten.
This summer, make sure your family is safe by reminding your family (and any other caregivers) about water safety before you plunge in.