School’s Christmas vacation break is right around the corner! For some of us, that means time to travel; hopefully to somewhere warm! If you are traveling to a sunny destination, there’s guaranteed to be a lot of swimming.
Don’t forget that most kids haven’t been swimming since summertime lessons, so here are some tips from Sue Mackie, Executive Director of the US Swim School Association (USSSA) to keep your children safe in the pool.
· Create a verbal cue that must be given by an adult before any kids can enter the pool.
· Gather the adults of your extended family if cousins and relatives are swimming together and create an agreed upon set of pool rules before the kids are allowed into the water.
· Select a parent to be the designated “water watcher”. This adult should not be drinking alcohol while children are in or near water.
· Take time to familiarize your children with the pool they will be swimming in, i.e. where the shallow and deep ends are, where stairs to get in and out are located, where they can and cannot swim.
· If visiting a hotel with an indoor waterpark, do not rely on lifeguards to constantly monitor your children. You cannot be sure how experienced a lifeguard is and should never assume. It might take a new guard time to notice an unsafe situation in a crowded pool and you need to be ready to react first if your child needs help.
· Do not use water wings or pool floats as a substitution for supervision if your child is not a strong swimmer.
· Cold weather destinations are not a guarantee of safety. Children still need to be watched around water that appears frozen and should not be allowed to walk on frozen ponds, lakes, creeks or other bodies of water because it could easily crack and trap a child under the ice.
· Don’t let your kids go to the hotel pool by themselves no matter what their age, and always be sure to check that a licensed lifeguard is actually on duty.
Looking for swimming lessons near you? Visit our website for kids program information!
-Chris DeShiro, Aquatics Director at Dedham Health