In the Alpharetta area, you and your family have access to many awesome water-based activities that you can take advantage of year-round. But it’s important to teach your children how to appropriately act around bodies of water so they can keep themselves and others as safe as possible. Review these water safety tips to instill responsible habits in your children when playing in and around water.

Educate yourself on the facts of child drowning

Three kids swimming in a pool at their home in Alpharetta, Georgia

2 girls in swimming pool during daytime” used with permission via Unsplash by Peter Idowu

Drowning is unfortunately a leading cause of death in children and the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 years old. In fact, there are nearly 400 pool- or spa-related drownings of children younger than 15 years old every year. And there are a lot of myths about drowning, like how it happens, the signs, and how you can prevent it. Here are a few common debunked myths about child drowning to know:

Myth 1: “I’ll hear my child drowning.”

Truth: In real life, drowning is typically silent.

Myth 2: “Floaties and water wings prevent children from drowning.”

Truth: Water wings can help young children get used to being in the water, but you should still swim with your children when they’re wearing them as these devices can still slip off.

Myth 3: “Kids are safe in shallow water.”

Truth: Children of any age can drown in just inches of water. That’s why it’s important to watch children in the shallow end just as much as when they’re in deep water.

Myth 4: “My children are fine if there’s a lifeguard present.”

Truth: While lifeguards can help keep an eye out for children in danger, there are many cases where children have still drowned with lifeguards on duty.

Supervise Kids in the Water

Close supervision is the best way to make sure kids stay safe in and around bodies of water. Even if your child is a strong swimmer, you should always watch them in the pool, at the beach, or near a splash pad or fountain because any small misstep could lead to an accident. When you’re not able to supervise your children, make sure that another adult, who is attentive and sober, can watch them in your place.

Prioritize Swimming With a Lifeguard Present

While incidents can still occur with a lifeguard on duty, it’s best for anyone to swim with a lifeguard present because these professionals are trained in observing water conditions, scanning the area for hazardous water activities, and using life-saving measures like CPR. Remember that a lifeguard is your secondary measure against drowning, and you should still keep a close eye on your own children.

If there is no lifeguard present, make sure to keep an even closer eye on your children when in and around the water.

Have Kids Ask for Parental Permission to Get Into the Water

Educate your children on the dangers of being in the water without an adult present, and make sure they know the benefits of asking for your permission before going in the water. This can help them become more responsible and careful around the pool, lake, river, or ocean.

Teach Kids Good Pool Etiquette

Teach your children the safety rules of being near a pool, whether in your backyard, at their friend’s house, or at the local community center. Some pool etiquette you can teach them includes:

  • Only swim in designated areas. Buoys separate public water holes for different activities, like one for boating and one for swimming, to prevent people from exploring deep or rough waters, or to keep people from local aquatic life.
  • Walk, don’t run. Walking can best prevent slipping and falling that leads to injuries or accidental slips into the pool that result in drowning.
  • Don’t dive. Kids (and adults) should jump feet-first into a pool, no matter how deep the water is, to prevent accidentally bumping their heads on the pool’s floor and getting a life-threatening injury.
  • Don’t dunk or jump on people in the water. Dunking or jumping on people into water is a hazardous game that could result in injury or accidental drowning.
  • Always follow the signs around the public pool, like “No Running” and “No Diving.” These signs are there for everyone’s safety, and following them means there’s a much smaller chance of an incident.

Many of these rules of the pool apply to the lake and the ocean, too.

Ban “Hold Your Breath” Games

Many parents can remember playing “how long can you hold your breath?” games as children, but this game has always been really dangerous and the cause of many child drownings over the years. Talk to your children about the dangers of playing this game and bar them from playing. Note that many community centers with pools ban these games, too.

Encourage Kids Not to Jump in to Save a Friend

To raise responsible and protective children, it’s best to teach them not to jump in after a friend in a dangerous situation in the water. Instead, instruct them to find a long object they can throw to their friend and pull them in. This policy, called “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go” by the Red Cross, allows them to help out in the emergency without putting their lives at risk.

Put Kids in Life Jackets or Other Age-Appropriate Floatation Devices

When doing water activities like boating, canoeing, kayaking, or stand-up paddling, make sure that your child wears an age- and weight-appropriate life jacket, which can keep them afloat if they fall out of the watercraft. In the pool, consider getting your little swimmer a swim vest to help them as they learn to flap their arms and kick their feet.

Enroll Your Kids in Swimming Lessons

In and around the Alpharetta area, there are some great swim schools that can teach you and your whole family about water safety and proper swimming techniques. The Alpharetta YMCA has classes for kids as young as 6 months and a swim team for skilled swimmers at a variety of ages. Aqua-Tots offers group lessons, Fast-Track lessons that pack a lot of helpful information into each session, and private lessons. SafeSplash Swim School offers lessons for every age group and for children and people with disabilities.At Crème de la Crème of Alpharetta on Nesbit Ferry Road, your child’s safety is incredibly important to us, too. That’s why we implement many security measures in our schools, including biometric fingerprint scanners, eagle-eye cameras, and background checks for all staff. Contact us to learn more about how we prioritize your kids’ safety alongside a whole-child education.