17 Pool and Lake Water Safety Tips for Parents

Taking your kids swimming is an ideal way to help them (and you) keep cool this summer. But, as parents, you also want to make sure your kids are safe while spending the day at the pool or lake.

These tips will help you keep your kids safe this summer while allowing your children to enjoy their time in the sun and around the water.

1. No one swims alone. This is perhaps the most important rule you can establish as a parent when it comes to children swimming. Accidents happen all the time and even the strongest swimmer can struggle. When there is a swimming buddy present, there is always someone there to get help in an emergency. This is a good rule to have for adults as well as children.

2. Enroll children in a water safety program. Even if your child knows how to swim, a seasonal water safety program offers excellent reminders about water safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that swimming lessons are not effective tools for drowning prevention among young children and reminds parents that the most effective prevention, is vigilant supervision when young children are in the water.

3. Learn CPR. This is something every parent needs to know and it does save lives. Learn CPR so that if something does happen, you know what to do.

4. Apply sunscreen liberally and often. Sunburns are not only uncomfortable, they can be dangerous too. Keep extra bottles of sunscreen on hand when enjoying summer activities whether you are at a pool or swimming in a lake, so that it can be reapplied every time your child comes out of the water.

5. Choose swimming location according to your child’s ability. The one thing you don’t want to have happen is introducing your child to a body of water they aren’t equipped to handle. Currents, waves, or even being in over their head can place your child in unnecessary danger.

6. Educate your children about the dangers of drains and suction fittings. Further, the National Safety Council suggests that parents do not allow children to play around them at all. Use drain covers in your own pool to reduce the risks.

7. Teach your kids to avoid panicking. Panic is one of the most lethal things in the water. Teach your children to think and act calmly when they find themselves struggling. It also helps for parents to refresh their breathing exercises and other coping mechanisms so that they can keep panic at bay if suddenly their child is struggling in water.

8. Do not consume alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol when in the water or supervising children who are in the water as it may slow your response time or impair your judgment with devastating consequences.

9. Wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets when boating. Everyone in a boat needs to wear an appropriately sized and fitted life jacket. That way if there is an accident, the life jacket can help keep even unconscious and injured passengers afloat in the water.

10. Keep pool decks clear of clutter. Clutter poses a risk of tripping and falling into the water. Risk is significantly elevated if a child is injured or becomes unconscious when playing near any water.

11. Don’t allow children to run around the outside of swimming pools. Running is another activity that increases the risk of falling into the water when children aren’t prepared for it and may react negatively.

12. Ensure your pool is fenced & the gate closed and locked when adults aren’t outside to supervise. This saves lives and prevents unsuspecting children from wandering into your pool unnoticed.

13. Keep your eyes on your children. Reading a book, making calls, or sending out text messages may be a tempting way for mom or dad to pass time while at the pool or the lake, but taking your eyes of your young child, even for a minute, can be dangerous.

14. Make sure your child understands the rules. Additionally, make it clear that your child will not get to swim or play in the water if he or she doesn’t honor your rules for the pool or lake.

15. Keep rescue equipment nearby. Even when using public pools and lakes, it is important to know exactly where the safety equipment is located – and make sure your kids are aware of these things too. Not only might it help save your child’s life, but it also may allow you to act swiftly when other children are in danger too.

16. Check pools, lakes, spas, and hot tubs first when children are missing. Seconds matter when it comes to drowning accidents. Make sure you don’t waste precious time looking elsewhere if a pool, spa, or lake is close by. Water for playing in is one of the strongest magnets there is for small children.

17. Test the water temperature before allowing children to swim. Avoid allowing children, especially smaller children, to swim in water that is too cold. For most children, the ideal water temperature will be between 82 and 86 degrees. Anything cooler than 70 degrees may be too cold.

Our friends at Hanover Insurance put together a great infographic as well:

Finally, remember that swimming can be lots of fun as long as you keep these safety tips in mind and stay safe around the water!