In my state, Washington, spring/early summer is an especially dangerous time around our streams and rivers. The melted snow coming down from the mountains makes the water very high and very fast. Parents and small children are often unaware of the danger and not prepared.
I’m listing some basic summer water safety tips, but drownings can happen year round in hot tubs, bathtubs, ponds, lakes—pretty much any source of water. If you have small children, please refer to one of the more detailed resources I’ve listed at the bottom of the post.
And as I learned from a friend’s tragic loss, even accomplished swimmers can be at risk of drowning.
Water safety tips
Supervision is key!
- Supervise children under the age of five 100% of the time.
- Be within an arm’s length of the child—”touch supervision”—at all times. Get in the water with your child if you have to.
- Don’t be distracted by talking to friends or talking on the phone.
- With older children, consider using a pool or beach with a lifeguard on duty.
- Have older children swim with a buddy.
- With groups of children, take turns with other adults being the designated “water watcher.”
- Don’t rely on inexpensive water wings or float toys to keep a child safe. Buy Coast Guard approved life vests in the correct size and use them!
- Don’t assume a small plastic or inflatable pool is safer; children can drown in as little as a couple inches of water.
- Teach children to swim. Even kids as young as one can learn some basics.
- Keep a phone nearby in case of an emergency.
- Know what to do in case of drowning. Learn CPR and first aid.
Related post: How healthy is your public pool?
Water safety resources
Other than supervision, it’s all about being prepared. Here are a few links to organizations and websites I trust:
- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
- The American Red Cross
- US Coast Guard
You can also check out my Resources page for more links to children’s health and safety resources.
Related post: Tips for a safe summer
And the website, MaternityGlow, has a great infographic with 20 Smart Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe This Summer.
Have a safe and fun summer!
This post has been updated since its original publication in 2016.