As it’s Child Safety Week, it is important to know some vital tips to keep your child safe in the water. Swimming is brilliant exercise and so much fun for children and adults. However, there can be dangers when it comes to being in the water, especially for children.
All children need to be supervised in the water, no matter whatever their standard of swimming skills. There should be an adult in the water with them always to provide them with “touch supervision” (you should always be in reaching distance from your child, especially with weaker swimmers).
If you are at a swimming pool, please take note whether lifeguards are provided. If you are swimming in the sea, you need to be extra cautious with supervision. It is much more dangerous in the sea for children because of the strong rip currents; make sure you are always keeping a watchful eye.
2. Flotation Devices (Water Aids)
Flotation devices are good for keeping children safe, but a great learning tool for children as well. Back floats (jet packs) and children’s swimming vests are fantastic for buoyancy. They keep your children upright in the water with their hands and feet free to move, kick, pull and splash! This in turn develops their water confidence, the most important precursor to learning to swim; a relaxed child in the water progresses more quickly than a nervous one.
Supplying your child with a noodle is the perfect way for them to practice kicking their legs. Noodles can also be used for fun games such as sea horse races (putting the noodle through the legs and kicking in the water)!
Please note that there is still a risk of drowning even if your child uses flotation devices; make sure your children are still supervised always.
3. Basic Safety Rules
Making sure children are aware of some basic safety rules when swimming is crucial. Here are some rules to teach your child:
- How to get into the water safely is essential (the swivel entry). Sit your child down on the edge of the pool with their toes in the water. Ask them to make a triangle with both hands together, slowly turn both hands over to one side of the pool edge and turn carefully in.
- Remind your child of basic safety procedures – call a lifeguard or an adult if they (or someone else) need help.
- Make sure your child knows to follow the signs around a pool which state the pool rules (no diving, no jumping, no running etc.).
- When jumping in, make sure they always have their toes at the edge of the pool and that the area is clear of people before they jump.
Giving your child swimming lessons from an early age is a vital skill for a child to have when it comes to being safe in the water. For more information about our swimming lessons, please see our swimming programme.