The summer season is almost here as schools prepare to close for the two months and many family head away on holidays.
If you’re planning a trip to the sea, the pool or the lake with the kids, experts warn that you need to be vigilant at all times – even with your kids who can swim.
The experts at mother.ly have listed five essential water safety tips that all parents and caregivers need to know if they’re heading towards the water over the coming months.
1. Practice basic swimming moves with kids beforehand
The CDC notes that most drowning incidents sadly occur in the pool, so making sure your child is confident around the water is imperative.
US figures show that swimming lessons are proven to reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88%.
However, if you don’t have time to sign up for lessons before your trip away, you should take a crash course.
2. Opt for official lifejackets
According to Jenny McCuiston, a mother of four and Olympic swimming trialist, it’s important to switch from floaties and pool toys to approved lifejackets.
McCuiston told mother.ly that brightly coloured toys and floaties “give children a false sense of security in the water.
“They can easily come loose or deflate, and they teach children to float in a vertical position—which is the opposite of how our bodies actually float.”
Meanwhile, lifejackets have to meet all the regulations that are set out by officials across everything from performance, construction and materials.
If you are going to purchase a lifejacket, it’s important to ensure you get each child their proper size and fit.
“The fit matters, because if your child’s head or ears can slip down beneath the life jacket, the device won’t be able to work as designed to keep your child’s head above water and allow for proper breathing,” she added.
3. Kids should wear only bright coloured swimwear
Research shows that certain swimsuit colours, like neon yellow and orange are much more visible under water. This makes it easier to spot a swimmer who is in need of help.
Lighter colour swimsuits like blue, purple, and brown, all blend in with the colour of the water.
So, if a swimmer – young or old – is in trouble, they can be easily missed by passers-by.
4. Follow the pool rules—and set your own family rules
When you’re on holidays, kids can forget that there are rules to abide by, as McCuiston says: “Sometimes when our little ones are in play-mode, rules fall by the wayside.
“Review rules together as a family before letting your kids loose to enjoy the water. Pay special attention to pool hours, and always schedule your swims when lifeguards are present, if possible.”
5. Designate a water guardian
“Kids are as curious as they come and are always willing to push the limits without knowing the true hazards,” McCuiston said.
“Designate an adult ‘Water Guardian’ and be sure to change guardians every 30 minutes so they are alert and refreshed,” suggests McCuiston.
“A Water Guardian’s sole responsibility needs to be keeping an eye on the swimmers. Vigilance is key—no chatting, no checking your phone, no distractions.”
For more water safety information, you can visit the HSE website for more advice and tips ahead of your summer break.