(Image by ccba)
Summer is here, and temperatures are up. That means the kiddos are ready to hit the pool. Summer days spent at the pool are basically a right of passage -- and a highlight of the season to be sure. To ensure your kids can have fun in the sun and be safe, we’ve compiled a list of HAPARI’s Top 10 Swim Safety Tips. Our list reviews simple rules that are great to review with your kids each year for swim safety. We’ve also included a few ‘new’ rules that you may have not read about.
HAPARI’s Top 10 Swim Safety Tips
Wear sunscreen (50 SPF or higher)
This one is a given, wear sunscreen. It’s simple and easy to apply sunscreen but many times it’s hard for kids to remember to apply it. Ideally, you want to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before any sun exposure. This gives the lotion time to create a protective barrier over your skin. Reapply often - every 2 hours is suggested - or reapply each time you get out of the pool and dry off.
Never swim alone
Swimming is fun, but it is dangerous. Make sure to emphasize to your kids that they should never swim alone. There’s safety in numbers. If someone in the group starts to need help, having others nearby to call for help or provide rescue can make the difference between life and death.
Always enter water with your feet first
This rule is hard for kids, but it’s important that they always enter the water with their feet first (unless they are an experienced swimmer or diver). Jumping into water with your head or arms first can be dangerous; there could be sharp edges or they may fall incorrectly and hit their head.
Be careful and cautious around pool edges
The last rule transitions into this new reminder seamlessly - be careful around pool edges. There have been enough stories in the news (remember the story of the bridesmaid who pushed the bride in the pool and the bride became paralyzed?) to remind you that it’s critically important to be cautious around pool edges. Don’t push people in without them expecting it, don’t run, don’t horseplay around the edges.
Wear a life jacket
All inexperienced swimmers should wear a lifejacket. It can save your life! Also, make sure to teach your kids how to swim. If your kids are spending the day at the pool, they should know how to swim by themselves and/or be supervised carefully.
Practice treading water
One of the skills young swimmers learn in swimming lessons is how to tread water. They’re taught different techniques and form to be able to tread water for short periods of time. A quick tip is to remember to move your hands and feet rhythmically while keeping your head above water.
This summer, teach your kids CPR. It’s a great lesson and skill for them to have. In case they’re ever around someone who’s drowning. A quick tip is to do compressions to the beat of the song ‘Staying Alive’ by the Bee Gees.
Avoid eating food or chewing gum in water
Make sure your little swimmers enter the water without gum or food in their mouth. The water is a new environment for them and can make them accidentally choke on objects in their mouth. It’s best to be focused on swimming safely rather than trying to multitask.
Watch for riptides while swimming near beaches
If you’re swimming at an ocean this summer, make sure to teach your kids about riptides. In oceans, underwater currents can be extremely strong and can pull swimmers away from the beach. If you happen to get caught in a riptide, swim parallel to the beach line instead of directly towards the beach. Once you’re out of the current, swim in a diagonal line towards the shore.
Avoid swimming in cold temperatures
It may seem obvious but it’s important to avoid swimming in cold temperatures. Hypothermia can set in quickly and can be deadly if not treated immediately. If water is too cold and muscles start to tense up, then you know the water is too cold and you should get out immediately.
We hope this list of Top 10 Swim Safety Tips helps you and your family have a fun and safe summer. Remember to review swim safety with your family each summer so it stays in the forefront of their mind. It’s great knowledge for kids and adults (hey, I didn’t know some of this stuff before!)
(Image by uscg)
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