After a winter away from the water parents need to be more alert of kids in pools, at the beach.
By Laura Baumgartner
After a long winter of chilly temperatures and gray skies, Spring Break is anticipated by parents and kids alike. Dreams of tropical vacations and trips to amusement parks finally come true, but for most children, the last time they were swimming was several months ago and skills can get rusty. Trips to relatives’ homes in warm climates, visits to the beach, and hotels with pools can create a situation where children could be at a higher risk for getting into a situation where drowning is possible. Rather than just allowing children to jump into the water, there are steps parents should take to help ensure the safety of their family around pools, lakes, oceans and other bodies of water.
Spring Break Water Safety Tips
by Sue Mackie, Executive Director of United States Swim School Association
- Create a verbal cue that must be given by an adult before children can enter the pool.
- Select a parent to be the designated “water watcher”. This adult should not be drinking alcohol while children are in or near water.
- Always go with children to the hotel pool. Do not let them swim unsupervised. Just because you are on vacation does not mean you are on vacation from being a responsible parent. Don’t allow children to go to the kiddie pool without adult supervision. Lounging in the adult pool while your kids are swimming alone is an accident waiting to happen.
- Do not use water wings or pool floats as a substitution for supervision if your child is not a strong swimmer.
- Take time to familiarize your children with the pool they will be swimming in, i.e. where the shallow and deep ends are, where stairs to get in and out are located, where they can and cannot swim.
- If visiting a beach destination, do not rely on lifeguards to constantly monitor your children. You cannot be sure how experienced a lifeguard is and should never assume. It might take a new guard time to notice an unsafe situation and you need to be ready to react first if your child needs help.
- Before allowing children to wade into the ocean, explain to them that they need to constantly be watching for waves that could knock them over and other potential dangers. Parents should constantly be on the lookout as well.
- If cousins and relatives are swimming together, gather the adults of your extended family and create an agreed upon set of pool rules before the kids are allowed into the water. It is also important for the adults of the group to meet and discuss each child’s skill level prior to allowing the kids into the water so everyone has the same expectations of what is normal or an emergency.
- If you have a pool at home be sure to take precautions before traveling. Secure fences, gates, door locks and covers so an accident does not occur while you are away.
To find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, or for details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization visit: http://www.usswimschools.org.
About US Swim School Association
US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. USSSA has partnered with Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation for its official water safety program. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org.