Water Safety

Young girl swimming in a pool

As children get older, supervision is still important to keep them safe while they play in and around water. About 45% of drowning fatalities in 5-14 year olds occur at a public pool. Children can drown in just a few inches of water.

Just as in the home, SUPERVISION is the best tool to keep your child safe from injury and death. Learning CPR, locking pool gates and always having an adult present are just a few ways to keep pool time a safe time.

Pools

Child holding Safe Kids logo sign
  • A swimming pool can be very dangerous for a child
  • Learn CPR to help your child or someone else’s in the case of an emergency
  • Teach your child these safety tips while swimming:
    • Never go near or in water without an adult present.
    • Never swim alone, always have a partner.
    • Never dive into water before checking with an adult to make sure the water is deep enough.
    • Do not use inflatable toys as substitutions for approved life vests.
    • Always wear a life jacket when on a boat or while fishing.
  • If your home has a pool, install 4-sided fencing around it and make sure you install a gate that locks to keep children out. Make sure to always lock up the pool after use.
  • Remove all toys from the pool after you get out so children aren’t tempted to go back in and get them.
  • Never swim in a pool or hot tub that has a broken, loose or missing drain cover.
  • Just because your child may know how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water. They still require adult supervision at all times.

Beach Safety

Miles of beautiful coastlands combined with sunshine make our beaches popular destinations for most of the year. So it’s particularly important for your child to know how to stay safe, since the beach and ocean offer unique situations to keep in mind.

Child on inflatable floating in the ocean

Swimming in the ocean can be very different than swimming in a pool, and it takes different skill levels. It’s best for your child to learn to swim in the surf under the supervision of an experienced adult.

Swim only at lifeguard-protected beaches, within the designated swimming area. And be sure to obey all instructions from lifeguards.

Other Tips to Keep Beachgoers Safe

  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and the around water.
  • Teach your child to always dive in feet first, never head first. Always check for water depth and potential obstructions. Many neck injuries occur by diving in unknown water.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life as water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and be sure to leave animals alone.
  • Keep plenty of sunscreen handy. Children getting in and out of the water need to have it re-applied regularly as they can burn quickly in the beach sun.

Beware: Rip Currents

Lifeguards rescue tens of thousands of people from rip currents in the U.S. every year. Beachgoers should be aware of how dangerous rip currents are, and swim only at beaches with lifeguards in the designated swimming area.

Rip currents can form in any large open water area, such as low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers.

For your child’s safety, teach them to be aware of the dangers of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight the current.
  • Swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t make it to shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

If someone is caught in a rip current, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, call 9-1-1. Throw the victim something that floats – a lifejacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current.

When at the beach, always check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.

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