Creating a set of family rules about water safety will help make sure everyone in the house knows the expectations about water safety. It teaches your children that you value the importance of water safety.
Tip 1: Keep the rules short, but important!
Keeping the rules short meaning small phrases and just a few, helps children remember them. When you are first starting to come up with family water safety rules, consider starting with 3-5 rules Once you've begun to see your swimmers have mastered them. Once you recognize that these rules have become their new habit, you can start teaching them new water safety rules they should know.
Tip 2: State each rule/expectation in the positive!
For years parents and educators have been telling children what "not" to do. Studies have proven that by framing rules in the positive, people are not only more receptive to the instruction, but also know exactly what is expected of them. Therefore they are more likely to adhere to that rule.
Tip 3: Practice them over and over again before going to the water!
Growing up you were probably told that practice makes perfect. Well, recently I've heard a new phrase... Practice makes progress! Learning about water safety is not something we want to learn once and forget. Revisit safe water practices will help them become habits. Safe water habits are what we want to instill in our children. Remember that if we don't use it, we lose it. It's essential to always keep the topic of water safety open to continuously develop water safety habits and stay true to your values.
Tip 4: Make sure everyone in the family knows and follows the rules!
Most children learn best by watching their adult role models do things. If water safety is something you value, modeling safe water habits for your children will help make these new rules the new habit.
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Did you know our world is 71% water?
97% of that water is our beautiful blue oceans! The ocean is an incredible place to travel to on a family vacation or a beautiful place to spend your summer days if you live nearby.
As beautiful as our oceans are, they are magnificently complex. Check out these tips to keep your family safe when swimming in our oceans!
Tip 1: Check the weather & tides before swimming.
We often talk about the importance of checking the weather before going swimming. When heading to the ocean, not only is it important to check the weather, it's also important to be aware of the tide schedule before going swimming. Our moon's gravitational pull affects our oceans. This is what creates high tide - the water is higher on the shoreline with a smaller sandy area, and low tide - the water is further away and there is more sand on the beach.
Knowing about the tides is important because this will alter where the water drop-offs are in the swimming area. It can also affect the undertow and rip currents. Two features of the ocean that swimmers MUST know about before going swimming.
Tip 2: Always swim in the designated swimming area when a lifeguard is on duty.
When swimming at a beach swimming areas are most likely marked with red and green flags. It is important to swim between the green flags. This is the area that is not only supervised by a lifeguard, it's an area where surfers, kayakers, paddle-boarders, and boaters cannot enter.
Tip 3: Know about rip current and what to do if you get caught in one.
Rip currents are a strong, often narrow, current that brings water away from the shore and back out to sea.
NOAA (National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration) has put together an excellent Q&A all about rip currents included how and why they are formed along with more safety tips. You can find thatQ&A Here!
What to do if you get caught in a riptide:
What to do if you see someone who needs help:
Tip 4: Swim at least 100 feet from piers or jetties
Piers and docks are used mostly for boats or for people to walk on to enjoy the beautiful beach scene.
Jetties are built to help protect and sustain our beaches.
They can be dangerous to swim near because the current can sweep you towards these areas before you know it. Swimming near these man-made structures can cause injury.
Be sure to swim at least 100 feet away from them. If you notice that you are getting closer to these structures, you can get out of the water and walk future down the beach to swim in a safer place. You can also swim in the opposite direction providing that the current isn't that strong.
Our beaches can be a beautiful place to enjoy the scenery for a day, weekend, or a longer vacation. It's important you and your families know these and other safety tips before swimming at the beach.
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Most people think that if my swimmer learns to swim in a pool, they will know exactly what they need to do when swimming in open water. While learning swimming skills in a pool is a fantastic start, as parents, there is more teaching we need to do to ensure our swimmers know how to stay safe in open water due to different features that are not in a pool setting. Check out these three tips that you swimmer MUST know about Lakes, Rivers, & Streams.
Tip 1: Always check the weather before going swimming.
So often we find that our weather changes in a day. Growing up on the coast, we would sometimes have very cold rainy mornings, but by mid-day, the bright sun came out, dried up the rainy weather, and created the perfect beach day. After moving to Vermont, I quickly learned about mountain weather - we could wake up to the perfect lake or boating day, spend a few hours in the sun, but then my 4pm, without fail, a thunderstorm we start rolling in.
Regardless of where you live, if you are planning to head out to the lake, a river, jump in a watering hole, or go fishing in streams, be sure to check the weather. Meteorologists do their best to give us the most accurate weather information and while we know it may not be 100% accurate, it's important to be aware of what could happen. You should never be in, on, or around the water when a storm hits.
Tip 2: Always swim in the designated swimming area when a lifeguard is on duty.
Lakes that are safe for swimming always have a designated swimming area. This is an area that is a safe place to swim because it is maintained by the lifeguard staff. Hazards are moved out of this area and boats are permitted from coming into this area.
Keep in mind, if you plan to go boating, fishing, or kayaking in a river or stream, there is typically NOT a designated swimming area. This doesn't mean to can't jump in for a dip, but it does mean that you must be aware of any potential hazards while swimming in open water.
Tip 3: Get familiar with your swimming environment.
Regardless of whether you are swimming in a designated swimming area, boating in a river, or fishing in a local stream, you must become familiar with your swimming environment. Learn about the area before you go swimming. While at the lake, consider asking a lifeguard about any sudden drop-offs, currents, rapids, debris, etc. that you should be aware of so you can make water-safe decisions.
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Heading to the pool or waterpark is always a fun and exciting day. No matter what pool or water park you go to, these 5 must-know safety tips will help you and your family have a safe and splash-tastic time!
Tip 1: Always swim with a buddy while a lifeguard is on duty.
Swimming with a buddy is not just about having a good time, it's also about water safety. When swimming with someone you know, there is another person who can call a lifeguard should an emergency arise.
Lifeguards are trained professional rescuers whose primary responsibiliy is to prevent emergencies from occuring. Should an emergency arise, Lifeguards would know which care to provide to help save or sustain a life. Swimming under a lifeguard's supervision is another added layer of protection while enjoying a pool or waterpark with your friends and family.
Tip 2: Always look at the lifeguard when they blow their whistle. Be sure to follow their directions.
A lifeguard most often uses a whistle as a way to get a swimmer's attention when they need to communicate water safety rules. Lifeguards also use whistles in the event of an emergency, such as a rescue needing to be performed or having to clear the pool due to thunder and lightning. Regardless of the reason why the lifeguard blows their whistle, your response should be the same:
Every time you hear a whistle blow, it's important to
stop, stand up, and look at the lifeguard.
Sometimes it's hard to tell if the lifeguard is trying to get your attention. By looking at the lifeguard, you will be able to recognize if the lifeguard is speaking to you. Even if the lifeguard is not speaking to you, you should pay close attention to what the guard is saying becuase you might learn something new.
Tip 3: Know where the lifeguard office is and who to ask for help in case of an emergency.
An emergency can be a very stressful situation for adults and children. It's important to take a tour of the facility with your kids to locate the lifeguard station and stands prior to jumping in!
This will teach your swimmers where to go and who they should go to in the event that someone needs help. Teach your children then when they ask a lifeguard for help it's important to tell the lifeguard their name and what happened.
Tip 4: Look before you jump in.
Sometimes pool and waterparks can be very busy, while other times it seems like your family has the whole place to themselves. Regardless of the number of people at the facility, it's always important to look and be aware of your surroundings before you jump in.
The two most important things to look for are:
Tip 5: Become familiar with any specific facility rules and be sure to follow them.
Every facility's rules are slightly different due to the structures and attractions on sight. For example, a facility with a water slide would have additional regulations than a facility without a waterslide. Knowing and understanding the rules of each attraction will help swimmers make water-safe decisions when swimming.
You can usually find the pool rules listed on the sign when you first arrive at the facility. Most of the time, facilities have specific rules posted near each attraction. Be sure to review it with your swimmers before they start playing.
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We believe it's important that everyone should have the skills and knowledge necessary to stay safe in, on, and around the water. We also know that everyone learns differently. There are primarily three different types of learners:
To support our communities, families, and swimmers, we've come up with a list of activities that can support different learners in all learning one important lifesaving topic...Water Safety!
Different Activities To Teach Kids About Water Safety
Read stories about water safety and swimming. Both fiction and non-fiction texts are great. Check out our book list here.
Show A Photo of Earth and have a discussion:
Come up with a list of fun activities you can do on the water. Identify water-smart tips that someone may need to know when participating in those activities.
Go on an adventure to a local pool, waterpark, lake, river, stream, ocean. Show them the differences between the way the water moves, posted signs that should be read, and safe places to swim.
Sign your little one up for swim lessons!
Have some other creative ways you've taught your swimmer about water safety? Help other families by sharing them in the comments below!
Meet Sabrina Keller,