With summer just around the corner in Mount Laurel, it’s vital that parents learn the do’s and don’ts of water safety for their children. Kids can be curious, which is why it’s important that they understand the risks and dangers associated with swimming. Teaching kids about water safety doesn’t have to be a lecture. In fact, one of the best ways for children to learn anything is by watching the people they trust most. We’ve compiled a list of nine tips you can use to better prepare your kids for summer and teach them the importance of water safety. 

Never Leave a Child Unattended

Image via Flickr by Phalinn Ooi Licensed CC BY 2.0

Perhaps the most important rule of swimming is to never do it alone, and this is especially true for young children. There should always be an adult offering their full attention when kids are playing in the water. Teach your kids that they should only get in a pool or body of water when they have permission and you or a trusted adult is supervising them. 

Use the Right-Sized Floatation Device

When choosing the right floatation device for your kids, it’s important to consider the size and level of comfort that each option provides. For example, a young child who has learned how to swim may only need armbands, while a child of the same age who has not learned how to swim would need a device that’s more like a life vest. When shopping for a personal floatation device for your child, you can use this general sizing guide from REI:

  • Infant: 8 to 30 pounds
  • Child: 30 to 50 pounds
  • Youth: 50 to 90 pounds

Teach Infants Self-Rescue Swimming Skills

Infant self-rescue swimming is a revolutionary technique that teaches infants how to turn on their backs and float in emergencies where they fall into bodies of water. This can greatly reduce the chance of drowning and provide your child with confidence when navigating bodies of water. If you’re interested in signing up for an infant self-rescue swimming course with your child, check out any of these swim schools in the Mount Laurel area:

Learn CPR

In instances of drowning, in which oxygen is unable to pump properly throughout the body, it’s common for people to need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Knowing how to conduct CPR procedures and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) machine can keep a person alive while waiting for professional emergency services to arrive. To learn more about CPR and ways to get certified, you can check out the classes offered by the American Red Cross in the Mount Laurel area.

Keep Children Away From Drains

While drains and pipes are necessary parts of pools, they can also be dangerous if children are around them without proper knowledge or supervision. Pool drains can have incredibly strong force, and faulty ones without proper drain covers can pull your child by their hair, bathing suit, or even limbs, causing what’s known as suction entrapment. To prevent this, always double-check that the public pool you’re visiting follows federal safety regulations for pools. If you have a pool yourself, speak to your pool service provider about your options for safe and secure drain and pipe covers. 

Enroll in Swimming Lessons 

Swimming lessons are one of the best ways to prepare children for playing in the water, and you can start enrolling them as young as four months old to learn the life-saving infant self-rescue techniques. Beyond infancy, children can gain a lot from taking professional swimming lessons so they can learn swimming skills like floating, kicking, and paddling. Older children may be interested in learning more advanced swimming techniques, such as the different strokes. Swimming lessons are a great way to boost your child’s confidence in the water and ensure they have all the tools and training to save themselves in an emergency.

Teach the “Reach, Throw, Don’t Go” Method

Kids can get in over their heads, especially in moments of high stress or danger. It’s important to teach your children not to jump in the water to save someone who appears to be drowning. Instead, teach your kids the “Reach, Throw, Don’t Go” method, in which they either reach out to the person and try to bring them to the surface or throw a life preserver or other item they can use to help them stay afloat. What they should never do is jump in themselves, and they should always try to get an adult to intervene immediately. 

Enter Water Feet First

It’s no secret that kids love playing in the water, whether that involves doing tricks, playing games, or taking turns jumping in. While this type of play may be fine for older, more experienced swimmers, jumping into water can significantly increase the chance of injury. Jumping in can cause children to hit the bottom surface, pull a muscle, or even start to panic from the rush of entering the water. It’s important to try to teach your small kids to always enter the water feet first, especially if they’re in the beginning stages of learning how to swim. 

Discuss the Importance of Water Safety

In the end, the best thing you can do to emphasize the importance of water safety to your children is to sit them down and have a discussion about it. Consider using online videos and activities, like those from the American Red Cross, to add a fun spin. Emphasize to your children how important their lives are and how much you love them. Teach them the value of staying safe and following the rules, and reward them when they carry out elements of water safety in their everyday lives. 

At Crème de la Crème of Mount Laurel, NJ, we strongly value the safety of all of our children and strive to create an environment that offers both stability and support through every step of your child’s journey with us.