Enjoying a Safe Summer: My Top 5 Tips for Summer Water Safety


The days have gotten longer. The temperature is rising. The beaches are filling up. This can only mean one thing. Summer is here again. For parents, water safety is of the utmost importance this time of year.

According to the CDC, one in five people who die from drowning are age fourteen or younger. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages 1-4 than any other cause, with the exception of birth defects. The scariest thing is that it can happen in seconds and it is silent. Movies have led us to believe that there is a lot of splashing and noise when a child is drowning, but that just isn’t so. I should know. As a child I almost drowned in a jacuzzi.

I have taken some time to compile my best summer water safety tips for parents.

Tip #1: Designate a Water Watcher

Pool parties are a summer staple. It is important for the adults to take turns watching the pool, whether there are children actively swimming or not. You can split the time up into shifts and ensure there are always eyes on the pool. If there are enough adults in attendance, it’s best to assign two adults per shift. You can even go to safekids.org to download a water watcher tag for them to wear while on duty.

Tip #2: Establish Rules

Whether it’s the pool or the beach, you should establish a set of rules for your kids to follow. For instance, they have to ask permission before entering the water. This can ensure they are not entering the water unattended. Another good rule to have in place is a no dunking rule. If they are playing in the pool with other kids, dunking each other can lead to accidental drowning. Teach them how to play safe games in the pool.

Tip #3: Enroll in YMCA Swim Classes

For really young children, ages 0-3 years, the YMCA’s Water Discovery classes are a great idea. These aren’t swim lessons; instead, they focus on allowing youngsters to become comfortable in the water. They teach you songs and games that can be done in the pool with your little ones to get them acclimated. The YMCA also offers more advanced classes for older kids.

Taking swim lessons can help your child become more confident in the water which can lead to them becoming even stronger swimmers. This lessens the chance of accidental drowning.

Tip #4: Use Proper Equipment

Water sports are popular activities this time of year. Ensuring that your children wear a properly fitting life jacket while out on the water is important. They shouldn’t remove the life jacket even if, for example, they are just riding on a boat. You can find life jackets at sporting goods stores if you’d like to have your own. Water sport rental places will also have them on hand for those who need them.

Tip #5: Put the Phone Down

This may be the last tip, but I can’t stress it enough. While enjoying the water with your family you shouldn’t have your face buried in your phone. It’s an unnecessary distraction. Put it on silent and put it away. If you want to capture pictures of your summer fun, use a camera. If you must use your phone to capture pictures, do so and then immediately put the phone away again. Posting to Instagram or Snapchat can wait.

Now that you’re armed with these tips, get out there and enjoy your summer safely with your family.


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