Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and other water activities are incredibly fun for the whole family. But it’s important to teach your children the appropriate way to act around large bodies of water so that they can stay as safe as possible. Here are some water safety tips you should follow to instill responsible habits in your children when playing in and around water.

Debunk Child Drowning Myths

A boy playing in the pool at his home in Mason, OH

Clear below, fuzzy above” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by vagawi

There are a lot of myths about drowning, including how it happens, the signs, and the ways you can prevent it. Challenge those notions you may have and better protect your child when near bodies of water by reviewing some common debunked myths about drowning:

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

Truth: In real life, drowning is typically silent.

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

Truth: Water wings can be great tools for little kids getting used to the water, but you should still swim with your children as the floaties can come off of their arms.

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

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

Myth 4: “When my kids aren’t near large bodies of water, I don’t need to worry about drowning hazards.”

Truth: Since children can drown in very little water, it’s important to always take care of any water hazards that children could come across, including unattended bathwater, a filled-up bucket, or a kiddie pool.

Always Supervise Kids in Water

Even if your child is a strong swimmer or in a body of water with a lifeguard on duty, you should always supervise your children when they’re in water. Anything could happen, from a strong wave in the ocean to a misstep in or around the pool, to put your kid in danger. When you’re not able to observe your own children, make sure that another adult, who is attentive and sober, can do so in your place.

Swim With a Lifeguard Present

It’s best to swim with a lifeguard on duty because these professionals are trained in observing water conditions, scanning the entire area, spotting hazardous water activities, and using life-saving measures like CPR. However, believing that, “if there’s a lifeguard on duty, your kids will be safe” is another common myth about drowning. The truth is that a lifeguard is your secondary safety measure against incidents or drowning, and you should still keep a close eye on kids when they’re in the water.

If there isn’t a lifeguard on duty, then you must be extra observant when kids are in or around the water.

Have Kids Ask for Parents’ Permission To Get In the Water

Educate your children on the dangers of being in the water without an adult present, and emphasize the importance of asking for parental permission before going for a dip. This can help them take pool or ocean time a bit more seriously and learn responsible behaviors that can keep them safe.

Walk, Don’t Run, Near Water

Walking, instead of running, around the pool or near bodies of water can prevent slipping and getting injured or falling in. This is also standard pool etiquette that kids should know.

Avoid “Hold Your Breath” Games

While the “how long can you hold your breath?” game may have been a fun activity in your childhood, this game is actually incredibly dangerous and the culprit of many child drownings. Nowadays, many community centers with pools, including the YMCA, ban these games completely. You should, too.

Encourage Kids Not To Jump In To Save a Friend

If you’re raising your children to be protective of their loved ones, it may seem counterproductive to tell your children not to go into the water after a friend in danger. However, it’s best to teach them to find a long object they can throw out to their friend and pull them back to safety. This allows children to actively help without putting themselves in danger.

Stay Inside Designated Swim Areas

Lakes and oceans use buoys for a reason — to keep swimmers out! Teach your children that they’re not allowed to go past the ropes and buoys because the area beyond that is not safe for them to be in. Be sure to lead by example and skip exploring the great beyond.

Put Kids in a Life Jacket or Other Age-Appropriate Flotation Device

Young swimmers should always wear a swim vest until they are capable enough to float on their own. For water sports like kayaking, canoeing, or jet skiing, it’s best to get a life jacket that’s best for their age and weight (as opposed to chest size, which is the common measurement used for fitting adult life jackets).

Teach Kids To Jump Feet-First Into the Water Instead of Diving

If the pool you’re at allows jumping, make sure that you and your kids are jumping feet-first as opposed to diving head-first into the water. This can prevent you or your child from bumping your head on the pool’s floor, which could cause a life-threatening head injury or accidental drowning. And if the signs at the pool or the lifeguards says no jumping or diving, make sure to follow the rules!

Enroll Your Kids in Swimming Lessons

In and around the Mason area, you’ll find plenty of local organizations and swimming schools with kid-friendly classes on breath control, floating, swimming basics, and even Olympic strokes. Bear Paddle in Mason offers classes for kids as young as 6 months old and a Flip to Breathe course that’s a type of infant self-rescue swimming practice. Goldfish Swim School in West Chester teaches classes for children as young as 4 months and emphasizes water safety through their “Science of Swimplay” philosophy.

You can also use Red Cross-certified water safety tips and tricks. The organization’s “Water Habits Are Learned Early” (WHALE) campaign is a fantastic resource for parents to continue water safety education after swimming classes are over.Crème de la Crème of Mason knows how important your children’s safety is, which is why that is our first priority, too. We implement multiple security measures, including biometric fingerprint scanners at the entrance to our schools, background checks for all Team Members, and eagle-eye cameras watching throughout the building. Contact us to learn more about how your children can safely learn and play at your local Crème de la Crème school.