By Robert Nickell
Summer is finally here, and for lots of families across the country, summer means spending time playing and having fun in and around water. Keep your kids safe this summer by following my water safety tips.
— WATER SAFETY: Safety in the water comes down to two things — proper floatation gear and constant supervision. It’s always a good idea to enroll your child in swim lessons, so they can be more confident in the water. Invest in a good life jacket or floatation device. My boys love their water wings, and combined with constant supervision, they have served us well throughout the years.
— COMMUNICATION: Prior to engaging in water activities, talk to your child about safety precautions and dangers that may arise. You, of course, don’t want to scare your child, so I suggest purchasing a children’s book about water safety — you can read the book together prior to playing in the water and spend time discussing it with your child. The more your child knows about water and water safety, the more prepared they’ll be to play in the water.
— SUN PROTECTION: Keep a bag of supplies handy that includes all things sun-related. You’ll need: a good waterproof 30 SPF (or higher) kids’ sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, a sun shirt and plenty of water. Because, as we all know — too much sun is never a good thing. Umbrellas and shade tents are excellent to have available as well. Be sure to apply sunscreen to your child’s skin 30 minutes prior to being outside, and once outside, reapply every 1 to 2 hours. Keep in mind it’s easy to dehydrate when spending a day under the sun, so bring plenty of liquids and pause for drink and shade breaks as often as possible.
— IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: As in any situation, remain calm and try for a quick rescue. If there’s a lifeguard on duty, alert the lifeguard of the situation, and call 911 right away.
I’ve lived close to the beach my whole life, and my children and I have spent lots of time in the water over the years. My main advice to you is to join in — when you’re swimming and playing alongside your child there’s less likely to be an accident.
Have fun and stay safe!