Summer Safety Tip #9: TOYS BY THE EDGE OF THE POOL. Beware of toys in or around the edge of the pool. Little ones may go to reach for a toy and fall in without anyone seeing them. Teach your kids that an adult needs to retrieve any toy in or around the edge of a pool.
Summer Safety Tip #8: REACH OR THROW, DON'T GO! What is worse than one drowning child? Two drowning children! Your child needs to know that if they see another child drowning, the best thing to do is let an adult or lifeguard know right away! If that isn't an option it is best for them to reach or throw, but NOT go! Saving a drowning victim is for an adult or trained professional!
Summer Safety Tip #8: TENNIS BALLS! Pass, Keep Away, Dead or Alive; They are all classic pool games that are fun to play, but there is a reason why pool balls were invented! Hard balls, such as Tennis balls, LAX balls, or Footballs are not balls for pool games! With crowded pools during the summer it is nearly impossible to play these games without it hitting another patron in the face. Squishy or softer balls designed for the pool don't cause pain if it accidently hits your face!
Summer Safety Tip #7: JUMPING INTO THE POOL! Kids jump in the pool, as they should! However, there are better ways to jump in than others. Pool decks are slippery! Therefore, a running start is not a smart move and is an ER visit waiting to happen! Jumping backwards is a good way to get a split chin or knock some teeth out. Lining your toes up to the edge of the pool and jumping feet first is the best way to go!
Summer Safety Tip #6: WATER SHOES! Have you ever tried kicking with some water shoes on? It isn't easy! Water shoes are great for protecting little feet from blisters or a hot pool deck but can add an extra challenge when trying to kick through the water. If they wear them then be sure they get comfortable kicking with them as well!
Summer Safety Tip #5: BEWARE OF RASH GUARDS AND SWIM SHIRTS! I actually believe that rash guards are great for kiddos to wear to the pool because of the sun protection is provides. However, a rash guard that is too big makes it very difficult to swim in! Make sure your child's rash guard is skin tight so it doesn't impair their ability to swim or add unnecessary fatigue.
Summer Safety Tip #4: How far can your child swim? It is agreed upon in the swimming community that a person who can swim 200 yards (8 lengths of a standard pool) has the ability to save their life in any given situation. It is my personal opinion that a child should take swim lessons or join a swim team until they have this ability.
Summer Safety Tip #3: HAVE YOUR CHILD ASK PERMISSION BEFORE GETTING IN THE WATER. Bathtub, lake, pool, ocean or hot tub, they need to communicate with you that they are getting in the water. This saves lives! Most drowning accidents happen because a child was swimming without the parent's knowledge.
Safety Tip #2: Go over the pool rules with your child. Most pools have the rules hanging up; I recommend reading and explaining each one to your child (this will also help keep your child from getting yelled at by the lifeguard). I would also show them where the water is too deep to stand in.
SUMMER SAFETY TIP#1: Don't rely on the lifeguard or a floatation device for the safety of your child. If your child cannot easily swim the distance of the pool you should stay within an arm's reach of him/her at all times. Even if they can swim the length of the pool, you should still have your eyes on them the entire time they are in the water. As a former lifeguard with 11 saves, 5 of them were for children using a floatation device! Often times they are just a false sense of security.
Photo of Jared Eygabroad with son Cash who wrote, "We always go swimming in the Chelan River because we have it all to ourselves. We try to find secret swimming holes, avoiding the thousands of tourists that crowd the nearby lake's beaches each summer. This photo was taken in our favorite secret swimming hole".