With summer now in full swing, it’s highly likely that your little ones will be spending time around the water. Whether at the pool, lake or beach, kids are drawn to the water—and that can certainly be a good thing. Jumping in the pool or the ocean is a great way to cool off from the summer heat, as well as learning how to swim. However, there are also risks with letting kids jump in.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t allow your kids to play in the water. However, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure kids are safe in and around the water. Here are 5 key tips to staying safe in the water this summer:

African American family having fun at water park1. Never leave children unattended in or near a body of water. If your child is in the water, it’s your responsibility to make sure someone is carefully watching her. If you’re leaving your child with someone else, be sure that the individual is responsible, trustworthy and a proficient swimmer. In 2009, of the children between the ages of 1 and 4 who died from an accidental injury, 30% were drowning fatalities, with most occurring in home swimming pools.

2. Teach children about depth markers. For kids who can’t yet swim, it’s important to teach them how to follow the depth markers provided in pools so that they know how far their boundary to where they can no longer reach the bottom is. For kids who are able to swim, depth markers are important in determining where they can and cannot jump or dive into the pool.

 3. Be observant of how your child is playing with others in the water. If kids seem to be roughhousing or playing games like “chicken,” you should probably intervene for their safety. Kids can easily receive serious injuries from roughhousing in the water. Also make sure children aren’t running around the pool area.

 4. Invest in swim lessons for youngsters. It’s never too early to start learning, and it might be a life-saving decision. Formal swimming lessons can reduce children’s risk of drowning by as much as 88%. If your child cannot swim, it’s a good idea to put him in a life jacket whenever he is in or near the water. Although life jackets are useful, they are not guaranteed to keep your child from drowning, so you should never leave a child unattended just because he is wearing a life jacket.

 5. Get CPR-certified. It’s important to take preventative measures, but in the event that something does happen, it is essential to be trained in CPR so that you can help if the situation ever arises. Even if you took a CPR class a long time ago, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory and get re-certified. You can never be too careful when it comes to ensuring the safety of your children. Seconds count when it comes to CPR, and it’s better to know exactly what you’re doing instead of fumbling around trying to remember the procedure.

Divisional Headquarters | virginiasalvationarmy.org
Territorial Headquarters | salvationarmysouth.org