Summertime is probably the most fun time of the year for kids, and swimming is one of the funnest activities. You want to let your kids have as much fun as possible this summer. You also want them to be safe and sound. By following these six tips, it is possible to do both
1. One of the best things you can do to keep your kids safe is make sure they know how to swim. Check with your local pool or Red Cross organization to find out about swimming lessons in your area. Swimming lessons are provided for minimal fees, for children of preschool age on up. The Red Cross Learn-to-Swim classes are geared towards teaching not only skills but also water safety. After your child completes his or her swimming lessons make sure they have a safe area to practice their newfound skills.
2. Do not rely on inflatable devices to keep your child safe. Anything inflatable is also deflateable. Teach your child that the inflatable devices are toys and not life preservers. When a child is using inflatable floatation devices, it is best to stay within arms reach of the child. If a floatation device deflates, it will do so in a hurry. Children relaxing on an inflatable raft might suddenly find themselves clinging to a very non-buoyant piece of plastic. If this happens, it is important that you are able to quickly reach out and grab the child.
3. No Diving! Children should learn to go into water feet first. One of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries is diving. “No diving” should not just be a guideline but a rule that children must abide by if they are going to participate in water sports this summer. Even in areas that are free of debris and where the depth is known, diving is still dangerous. A head-on collision with another swimmer could cause a spinal cord injury or a head injury, both could lead to tragedy and drowning.
4. Wear life jackets when using a boat or a personal watercraft. Whether boating, rafting, or jet skiing, make it a family rule that everybody uses a life jacket when they use a watercraft. Even for the best swimmer, a boating accident can lead to drowning in the absence of a life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD). Make sure that the PFD is Coast Guard approved and that it fits the child properly. The child should not be able to wiggle out of his or her life jacket. Some of the life jackets for kids use leg straps that make sure the life jacket will stay on. You should set a good example for your kids and never use a watercraft without first donning a PFD.
5. Teach your child to read and follow all posted signs in public swimming areas. If they are playing at a water park, they will need to follow the signs for proper use of the equipment. When swimming at a pool there will be signs telling them not to run as well as other rules for using diving boards and slides. Make sure your child knows the importance of following all rules when they are swimming. Teach them to respect and obey the lifeguards as well.
6. Finally, teach children to leave the water when they become “too” anything. If they get too tired, too hot, or too cold they should get out of the water. Teaching children to know their limits will not only keep them safe from drowning but is also a good skill to keep them safe in life. Many swimming accidents happen when kids have had too much sun or when they have swum too much. Make sure your child stays safe by teaching him or her to listen to the warning signs coming from their body.
By following these six tips, your kids will be much safer as they play in the water this summer.