As families prepare for spring break adventures, LifeCycle Swim School wants parents and caregivers to have all the knowledge they need to ensure a water-safe vacation. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between ages 1-4, and the second leading cause of death between ages 5-14. Being in an unfamiliar environment - such as a hotel, AirBnB, water park or beach could contribute to unsafe circumstances and lax protocols.
Drowning is silent. Someone struggling in the water may not yell for help, wave their arms, or thrash around. It’s critical to always provide constant, vigilant supervision when children are around any type of water environment.
The CDC lists the following factors that can make drowning more likely, and these factors are likely heightened during vacations and when an environment is new or not visited often.
Inability to swim.
Missing or ineffective fences around water.
Lack of close supervision.
Not wearing life jackets.
Tips to Help Keep Your Family Water Safe During Vacation
Familiarize yourself with the pool, beach, or any water features in the area where you're staying - including bathtubs. Understand what safety measures are in place such as lifeguard hours, gates, fences, rescue equipment, or the lack of these safety measures.
Constant, vigilant caregiver supervision around water is essential.
If your destination has lifeguards, schedule swimming during lifeguard hours. That said, Lifeguards are not babysitters. Caregivers must engage in constant, vigilant supervision.
Designate a Water Watcher, an adult in your group who keeps a close eye on swimmers. Rotate the Water Watcher every 30 minutes to avoid supervision fatigue.
Review the water rules with your family, and avoid letting these rules fall by the wayside as you relax. The number one rule: require that any child under your care ask permission before getting near the edge of any water.
When boating, everyone should wear a U.S. Coast Guard Certified life jacket. A properly fitting life jacket fits snug, and stays under a child’s chin when they lift their arms overhead. Click here to watch a quick video on how to fit a lifejacket.
Implement a buddy system. Nobody should swim alone - including adults - and no one is drown proof, even if they are a proficient swimmer or wearing a life jacket. Buddys can seek help if something is wrong.
Prepare for vacations by enrolling in formal swim lessons. The CDC notes that swim lessons reduce drowning by 88%, making year-round swim lessons a great way to help a child be safe around the water.
Copyright 2016-2019 Lifecycle Aquatics, LLC. All rights reserved. Content on this site is for informational or educational use, and should not be construed as medical or insurance advice. Lifecycle Aquatics, LLC provides general information about swimming and water safety.