4 Keys to Staying Safer In, On and Near the Water

By Foss Swim School

 

It’s Water Safety Month, and that means summer is right around the corner. It’s a time when families head out to have fun, often in or around water. Whether members of your family are brand-new swimmers or already know their way around the water, it’s important that they—and you—know how to stay safer around water.

Part of what makes summer challenging from a water safety perspective is that people are often visiting new environments and trying new things. So before you begin, sit down with everyone who will be at the water and lay down some ground rules.

 

Understand where you will be swimming

Different locations carry different risks – a crowded pool might mask a swimmer in distress, while natural water may have an uneven bottom, waves or currents. Talk to your kids about the differences between swimming in a pool versus swimming in open water, like a river, a lake or an ocean. This helps them know what to expect so they can proceed with caution.

 

Put down the phone and keep your eyes peeled

Don’t ever let your kids swim unsupervised and keep your eyes on them the entire time they’re in the water. That means really focused – no phones, no books, no naps. Drowning is often silent, so you need to use your eyes. If you’re in a group of people, take turns watching the kids in stages, to avoid fatigue for the water watcher (print out this tag to help make the sharing of this responsibility clear.) At least one responsible person must always be focused on the swimmers.

 

Give swimmers a break

Swimming is hard work, and kids can tire out quickly. Remembering to take occasional breaks lets them rest and regain strength, so they don’t run the risk of becoming exhausted while in the water. Like public pools, consider having everyone get out of the water every 30 minutes (or at an interval of your choosing) for a status check and chance to recharge.

 

Know what to watch for

You know how drowning looks on TV, with the person splashing and waving around? It doesn’t look that in real life. In real life, drowning is silent. And if you don’t know what to look for, it can be easily missed. Familiarize yourself with what drowning looks like here so you won’t miss the signs. Watch this video that Foss Swim School helped produce to show what drowning really looks like, and how easy is can be to miss if you aren’t aware.

 

Swimming is one of life’s great pleasures, but it only takes a minute or two for this fun activity to turn dangerous, or even worse. Educating yourself and your kids about how to take the proper precautions can keep you focused on what’s important: staying safe and having fun.

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