It may be hard to see it now, with cold snaps and storms still rocking parts of the country, but summer is just around the corner. With the change in seasons, it means we’ll be back outside and before long, in the water to cool off from the heat. There are many things you need to consider before and during the next family water day. It’s your responsibility to take extra precautions as a parent and make sure your children are safe on your next beach or pool outing. The following tips should help in that endeavor, so the next beach or pool day leaves only fond memories for your family.
Protect Your Skin
Before the day begins, one of the most important things you can do as a parent is to make sure your children are protected from harmful rays. This can be done with sunscreens that have a minimum SPF of 30 and protect from both UVA and UVB rays. Remember to reapply at regular intervals, especially if the children will be getting wet. For younger children, or those who are at increased risk for painful burns, there are many clothing options that can help in addition to sunscreen. The cumulative effects of the sun are to be taken seriously, and too much sun can not only be painful for your child, it can also lead to sun poisoning.
Make Sure Your Children Learn to Swim at Young Age
Children as old as four should be know how to swim in order to prevent a worst case scenario. In many cases, children as young as a year old may be able to be enrolled in a swim class — you can find courses taught by Red Cross instructors at your local aquatics center. Make sure the class is taught by qualified instructors and remember the class is also for you. After completion of a class, do not assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t at risk of drowning. All kids need to be supervised in the water, no matter what level of swimming skill they possess. Infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision.”
Keep Kids Hydrated
Seems almost silly with all that water around but many children (and even adults) get dehydrated during a day in the sun. With the kid dripping wet, it’s easy to forget that they are usually very active at the pool or beach and need to rehydrate. Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, or nausea are some of the signs of dehydration and overheating. Keep plenty of cool water or other drinks nearby and remind kids to grab a drink frequently.
Pay attention to Water Temperature
Enter the water before your child to determine whether the water is a safe temperature for children. Temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for most swimmers. However, temperatures between 82-86 degrees are recommended for children’s recreational swimming.
Water Safety Tips By the American Red Cross
• Swim only in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
• Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail.
• Always enforce the buddy system.
• Never leave a young child without adult supervision.
• Teach children to always ask permission to go near the water.
• Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around any bodies of water.
• If you go boating, wear a life jacket!
• Avoid alcohol use when supervising water activities.
Summertime should be fun time for you and your family, and by teaching your children to swim and observing these safety tips, you can make sure it’s just that. Be sure you are familiar with pediatric urgent care facilities in case of any sort of accident or injury. You can find locations near you through.
Brian Levesque is a freelance writer and family man who enjoys contributing down-to-earth advice and articles about issues affecting the business world and family life.