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Tips for Safe and Happy Swimming


Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time for trips to the beach and afternoons spent outside by the pool. There’s nothing like getting away for a warm and sunny vacation this time of year, but with that comes the need to practice proper water safety. Whether you’re a small child, a teenager, or an adult, it’s always important to stay safe in the water. Here are some tips to keep in mind before you hit the waves or jump in the pool.

Water Safety

When swimming in water of any kind, follow these general safety tips:

  • Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim. Eager to learn? Swim lessons aren’t just for kids! They’re available to all ages.
  • Always take a buddy with you when you swim.
  • Learn CPR and other rescue techniques so you can be prepared in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure that you’re comfortable with the body of water you’re swimming in. More strength is needed to swim in a lake or a river where there are currents.
  • If you get caught in a current, don’t panic or try to fight it. Float with it, or swim parallel to the shore.
  • If you’re swimming in a public body of water like a lake or a beach, make sure a lifeguard is present.
  • Never push or jump on others.
  • Never dive into an area you’re unfamiliar with.
  • Avoid alcohol when swimming.

Drowning can be quick and quiet, so it’s best to designate a “water watcher” who will pay close attention to all swimmers.

Although there are dangers when a person of any age swims, children and babies face the greatest risk of all.

Keeping Kids Safe

Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children. Most children who drown in swimming pools are between the ages of one and four. Here are a few precautions you can take to keep your child safe around water:

  • Never leave your child alone in the water.
  • Find age-appropriate swim lessons for your child.
  • Don’t assume that lifeguards can see everything. Keep an eye on your child even when a lifeguard is supposed to be doing the same.
  • Don’t allow your child to play around drains or suction fittings.
  • Don’t assume that a river or a lake isn’t dangerous. Both can have undertows.
  • Always have a first aid kit and emergency contacts nearby.
  • Learn CPR, and always remain within arm’s length of your child, providing “touch supervision.”

For most children, the majority of their swimming will take place in a pool. While the water may be rougher in the ocean, it’s important to remain careful when swimming in a pool as well.

Pool Safety

During the summer months, you’ll likely visit the pool often to escape the heat and relax. Check out these tips on enjoying the pool safely all summer long:

  • Install a fence at least four feet high around the pool to prevent a small child from entering when no adults are around to watch. Make sure there are no openings that the child could use to get over, under, or through the fence.
  • Make sure that the pool gates are at a height young children can’t reach. Place an alarm on the gate that alerts you when it’s been opened.
  • Keep rescue equipment close to the pool at all times. This should include a shepherd’s hook (a long pole with a hook at the end) and a life preserver.
  • Instead of using inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties,” use life vests approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Children over the age of one are at a lower risk of drowning after receiving formal swimming instruction. Swimming lessons are not recommended for babies younger than one year of age.
  • Avoid using a pool with broken or missing drain covers. Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act.
  • If a child is missing, look for them in the pool first.
  • Share these tips and other safety instructions with family, friends, and neighbors.

Open Water and Boat Safety

While pools may be the most common place to enjoy the water this summer, you could find yourself swimming in a body of open water at some point. To practice proper safety during your swim, follow these instructions:

  • Make sure that lifeguards are watching children at all times.
  • Don’t allow your child to dive into the water unless you’re sure of the depth of the water and you’ve checked for underwater objects.
  • Never allow your child to swim in canals or any fast moving water.
  • Make sure that your child understands the dangers of rip currents. If you are caught in a current, swim parallel to the shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.

After going for a swim in the ocean or the lake, you may decide to take a ride on a boat. Keep yourself and your children safe by taking these precautions:

  • Have your children wear life jackets at all times when on a boat, dock, or near a body of water. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example.
  • Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child and is not too loose.
  • Boating under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or some prescription medications is always dangerous, even as a passenger.

Swim Safely!

Consider signing your child up for swimming lessons, and remember to swim safely!