5 Must-Read Summer Tips for Water Safety

With July temperatures keeping us so hot we feel like we’re melting, many of us are turning to pools, lakes, and beaches whenever possible to keep the kids busy and allow everyone to cool off.

While we all strive to keep our children safe, sadly, there is a surge in childhood drownings during June and July, according to a new study by Merianne Spencer on childhood drownings in the U.S.

Here are five safety tips to help keep your kids safe in and near the water:

1. Keep children in bright colors so that they are easy to spot.

child swimming underwater, swim lessons in Collin CountyI’ll be the first to admit I prefer muted tones and tend to gravitate toward them for myself and my children’s clothes. However, when it comes to swimming, the brighter and louder, the better. Keep boys in bright rash guards and girls in brightly colored swimsuits. This makes them significantly easier to spot in both pools and natural bodies of water. Darker colors or shades of blue and green tend to blend in with the water, making it harder to notice kids if they are under duress.

2. Use water watcher tags when near water.

woman with water watcher wrist tag

Customizable Water Watcher Tag
Free customizable Water Watcher tags from Authentically Amber.

Many drownings occur because there is an assumption that someone else is watching a child, i.e., a spouse or other family member. Water Watcher tags allow you to specifically define who is responsible for supervising a child when they are in or near a body of water.

My husband and I often take turns wearing the tag. We wear it on our wrists and don’t leave our children until the other person has “switched” with us and wears the tag. You can often find these tags free at your local fire station or hospital. Editor’s Note: We found free tags on lanyards in the waiting room at our pediatrician’s office.

You can also make your own! Here’s a template you can print at home and laminate, so it’s water-friendly: Water Watcher Tag Template. You can attach your tags with these spiral wrist coil key chains.

3. Use Coast Guard-approved life vests for natural bodies of water.

child in life vest at lake, swim lessons in Collin CountyThis is another one where I say “the brighter, the better” with color. Often, I’ve seen people at the beach or near the lake with floaties or floatie-type swim devices. Ensuring your child has on a Coast Guard-approved life vest will keep them safer if they fall off a boat at the lake or get pulled under by a current at the beach. Small children, especially, can significantly benefit from wearing life vests while playing at the beach. Even if your child is a proficient swimmer, natural bodies of water can often have pretty strong currents capable of knocking down both children and adults.

My favorite Coast Guard-approved life vests are from Hyper-Lite, and Costco usually has a great deal on them in the summer. I try to find colors like bright orange or red for visibility.

4. If possible, avoid large floats in the pool if more than 4–5 children are swimming.

pool floatsWe have a rule in our home: If there are more than four children in the pool, or if we are having a pool party with lots of children, we do not allow large float devices like inflatables or large pool noodles in the pool. This is because they tend to obstruct the view of children in the pool and it can be hard to see if a child has been trapped under an inflatable. The more inflatables you have in the pool, the more it obstructs clear views of those swimming and splashing around it. I keep a lot of small water toys from Dollar Tree handy and encourage children to use those instead of the larger floats.

5. Enroll your child in swim lessons and practice floating regularly.

child floating in pool, swim lessons in Collin County
Courtney Morgan Photography

Of course, this may seem like the most obvious one, and while it does not necessarily prevent accidents in the water, swim lessons are a great way to teach your children about water safety and help them learn to respect the water. There are a variety of swim schools and private instructors in the Collin County area that can help your child feel comfortable and confident in the water while teaching them the life-saving skills of floating and swimming.

Since we have a pool at home and my boys are relatively young, I started them with ISR-style infant swimming classes so they could learn to float at under two years of age. It’s never too early or too late to begin swim lessons. However, if you can start early, it really helps children overcome fears and respect bodies of water at an early age.

I ask my kids to float for several seconds every time they get in the pool. This is mainly for muscle memory—they spend most of the time splashing and playing around the steps and jumping in and out of the water, so they can start to forget the basics of floating. Floating on their backs is a life-saving technique, and if they are ever caught in a precarious situation, knowing how to float may save their life until help arrives.

Here are a few resources for Collin County swim schools for every age:

Infant to Age 6

Infant Swimming Resource

(ISR) You can visit their national website at the link above to find a local ISR instructor. Classes are geared towards infants to 6-year-olds.

Your Swimming Baby

Instructor Sara Brull is my personal favorite. She taught both of my boys how to swim proficiently and float successfully on their backs before the age of two. She is a local mother in Frisco and with four children of her own. She knows how to calm even the most nervous of children in a loving and nurturing way to help them become more confident in the water.

Ages 6 & Above

Frisco Swim School

This is another local favorite of mine. The class sizes are small with no more than two to three children at a time, and the attentive instructors not only teach your child to swim but also help them advance those skills and take them to the next level—like learning the four basic swim strokes. Frisco Swim School is conveniently indoors and open year-round.

Lastly, if you are in need of financial support for swim school, organizations like the Hope Floats Foundation offer scholarships to provide swim lessons at local swim schools in Collin County. Visit their website to learn more.

Amber Anderson is caught somewhere in the middle. She’s both a stay-at-home-mom and a career woman of sorts. Amber, a former marketing strategist, who still uses those skills to help grow her family’s business, is a full-time boy mom to sons Demetrius II and Richard Glen. The mom of two has traded her love for cooking gourmet meals and watching independent films for less time-consuming pleasures like stolen moments for hot showers and daily Starbucks runs. Check out more of Amber’s work here: Blog // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest

27 COMMENTS

  1. Great suggestions for playing it safe while in the water. I love the recommendation to have your children regularly practice floating! You want them to practice so much that it’s second nature in the event of an emergency which reduces panic.

    • Thank you! I agree! My three year old hates it by the way, but its so great to see him doing it second nature even when he’s mad at me! LOL

  2. These are great tips! I hadn’t even considered the bright swimwear. We don’t even keep the arm floaties for guests in our pool. The give a false sense of security.

  3. This is an informative post and one that serves as a reminder of the importance of knowing how to float and practicing it regularly. Thank you for sharing these safety tips.

  4. I NEVER thought about the bright clothes for the water. I too am a huge fan of a muted palette, so that was definitely a great tip for me! Love the article

  5. I love your water safety tips. Working in the hospital we’ve already seen a child drowning come in. It’s so important to have safety measures in place to prevent tragedies. My favorite is the water watcher tags. It’s always easy to assume that the other person is watching your child but in turn they are thinking that you are the one watching the child/children. These tags are a constant reminder of that person’s responsibility to watch the child/children.

  6. I really needed you when I was a young mom with these tips. A non-swimmer myself, going to the pool was always a nice-Nervous experience. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront!

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