As families across the country prepare to embark on spring break adventures, here at Big Blue Swim School, we want parents and caregivers to have all the knowledge they need to ensure a water-safe vacation. The unfortunate reality is that drowning is a leading cause of death for children under 14, and many factors lead to unsafe circumstances as families head to destinations where they are unfamiliar with the environment.
We offer the following tips to make sure that families and swimmers remain safe in the water while enjoying their vacation:
Remember, lifeguards are not babysitters. Even with this important safety system in place at pools or beaches, adult supervision around water is essential.
Understanding Safety Measures in Place
Speaking of safety systems, get to know the pool and beach area where you are staying. Understand what safety measures are in place such as locked gates, fences, and other barriers.
Assign a “Water Watcher”
Designate a “Water Watcher,” an adult in your group who keeps a close eye on swimmers. We recommend rotating the Water Watcher every 30 minutes to avoid supervision fatigue.
Wear a Proper Life Jacket
Wear a life jacket and not just any life jacket. A properly fitting life jacket fits snug, is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, and stays under a child’s chin when they lift their arms overhead.
Grab Your Buddy
Implement the buddy system. Even if your child is a proficient swimmer or wearing a life jacket, drowning can still happen, so all children should be assigned a buddy to swim with who can raise the alarm if something seems off.
Enroll in Swim Lessons
Prepare by enrolling in formal swim lessons. The CDC notes that formal swim lessons reduce drowning by 88%, making year-round formal swim lessons the best way to help a child be ready around the water.
“A drowning incident isn't always obvious, someone struggling in the water may not yell for help, wave their arms, or thrash around,” explains Chris DeJong, our Founder and President, and five-time U.S. National Champion swimmer. “We want parents and caregivers to remember that it’s critical to always provide constant, careful supervision when children are at the pool or beach.”
If you are looking to build your child’s confidence in the water and teach them a lifelong love of swimming, visit www.bigblueswimschool.com.