Ahhh…summer…Sitting by a pool, reading, sipping an iced tea. For some it’s more like “How will I entertain the kids all day?” “Camp costs what?!” and “I can join that video call from the car - after camp drop-off.” Making summer even more stressful is that undercurrent of worry that our kids stay safe around water. Over the next few months we’ll provide timely tips to help set your family up for a safe and fun summer in, on, and around water. Careful planning can help reduce stress and potential water incidents. Read these six tips to get your safe summer started.
1. Think ahead about any vacation days, and book hotels now.
Whether it's a 3-day weekend, or a longer trip, pick the days now.
Confirm the days off from work. Communicate your summer schedule to colleagues and direct reports.
If vacationing around waterscapes is a priority, start researching hotels (see point #2) and book now. Waterscape properties are always in high demand - book early to grab those spots.
Camp drop-offs and pick-ups can mess with your regular schedule. Meet with your manager to discuss any extra flexibility you'll need over the summer. Consider banding together with other parents to help emphasize the (temporary) need for extra flexibility.
Mark and clear your calendar to be sure you don't book conflicting appointments.
Make arrangements for pets, house plants and yard.
2. Consider water safety when researching hotel properties, vacation rentals, and any water activities and excursions.
If you're staying at friends' or family's property that has a pool or access to any open water, ask about water barriers like pool fences or covers, and on-site rescue equipment. If any repairs, installation or purchases are needed, start making arrangements now.
When planning water excursions, be mindful of your family's swim and water safety abilities. Don't book excursions that are too advanced. Base water activity decisions on ability, not age.
3. Refresh your CPR skills. One of the five layers of protection for being safe around water is having an emergency action plan - which includes knowing how to do CPR. If it's been a while since you've practiced, take a refresher course. Though many companies offer classes, here's the link to Red Cross classes.
4. Make sure all caregivers watching your children in and around water have the proper skills and certifications.
Only people who know how to swim should be responsible for watching children in, on and around water. Make sure you know the swimming abilities of your caregiver, or of any caregiver you're interviewing. Be wary that some people overestimate their swimming skills. Ask direct, specific questions about their swimming skills and encourage them to be honest.
Ensure that any caregiver watching your children around water has refreshed CPR/rescue breath skills.
5. Follow these for choosing camps with swim programs.
6. Build swim lessons into your summer plans. Especially if your child doesn't take year-round swim lessons, summer is the time to progress their skills in sync with their age, maturity and physical growth. For most families swim lessons aren't negotiable. If you have a kid who's resistant, we'll give you some tips later about how to deal with that. For now, research programs and choose a reputable school that fits your schedule. Download this swim lesson checklist from the National Drowning Prevention Association. It will help organize notes from your research visits. Swim programs in our area often have waiting lists, so register now. You can register for our swim programs here.
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.