Summer is just around the corner, and it’s already warming up in many places all around the country. What does that mean? Lots of time spent cooling off in the water. Wherever you and your family go to swim, though, there are some essential water safety tips to keep in mind to make sure the experience is safe as well as fun.
Consider Swimming Lessons
Make sure your kids (and you) have the essential tools to be in the water safely. Swimming lessons are available for every age range and skill level. In addition to helping with swimming basics or skill advancement, lessons also tend to promote water safety in general.
Appropriate Water Safety Gear
The kind of water gear you need depends primarily on where you are swimming and the age of swimmers. In deep water or places where an undertow could grab you unexpectedly, a life jacket is warranted pretty much at all times. It’s often the law.
In pools and other shallower still water, flotation devices are usually only needed for young children and generally weak swimmers.
Check Pool Fencing & Gates
A cool, blue pool can be particularly tempting for kids during the hot months of summer. You don’t want your kids to get near the pool if you’re not around, and especially if they’re on the younger side. To make sure that doesn’t happen, water safety rules dictate that a sturdy pool fence and locked gates are in place to keep the kids away.
If you already have a fence installed, you should check it periodically for any breaks or weaknesses. And check gates to make sure the locks still work properly.
Ensure Adequate Supervision
If your kids go swimming, you need to keep an eye on them. After all, even if they know how to swim, accidents can happen. And they can happen quickly. It technically only takes a second for a person to drown.
If you won’t be around where your kids are swimming, you should doublecheck to see that a lifeguard or other adult will be around to supervise.
Don’t Jump in to Save Someone Struggling
If someone has trouble swimming, that usually leads to panic. That panic makes them grab for and push down on anything around them to try to keep their head above water. That anything could include you if you jump in to try to rescue someone drowning. Then, you have to save yourself from drowning as well.
Maintain water safety for yourself as well as someone who’s drowning. Instead of jumping in when you see someone having trouble in the water, throw a rope or life preserver and pull them in instead.
Sometimes the worst happens, and a child winds up underwater for an extended period of time. In that case, it behooves you to have basic life support (BLS) skills to help sustain the child and keep his or her heart and breathing going until first responders can get there.
CPR/BLS courses can be found all over the place. And they don’t usually take up a lot of time to get certified. Once you are certified, you need to take a refresher course every two years to make sure your skills stay up to par.
Plan for Water Safety Based on Swimming Area
Are you swimming in your own pool? A public pool? In a river, lake, or ocean? Each one of these requires specific precautions. Anytime you decide to go swimming out in large natural bodies of water, there are likely to be variables that can crop up. For that, you should plan ahead to ensure water safety. Think about possible undertows or currents. And compare possible conditions to the strength of your family’s various swimmers.
In pools, there are fewer unknowns. But accidents can still happen, which is why supervision is always so important.
And with that, you now have the water safety knowledge you need to keep your family and others around you safer.
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