The warmer weather is here when we all spend a lot of time enjoying the water. But this year summer fun will be different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross offers water safety tips you can follow.
Many public pools and beaches may be closed this summer, following the guidance of state and local officials. If you choose to take your family to the water, make sure the area is designated for swimming. Once there, maintain social distancing, both in and out of the water, between you and people who don’t live with you. If you don’t think your child can do this, come up with another activity.
- Wear face coverings on land, especially when physical distancing is difficult. Do not wear them in the water as it may be difficult to breathe.
- Don’t share goggles, nose clips, snorkels or other personal items.
- A kiddie or inflatable pool can be a great way to have fun but be sure to provide constant supervision to children in and around the water. Drain the water from the pool and flip it over after swim time is over.
Talk to your children, including older youth and teenagers, about water safety. Make sure they know your rules and expectations. Children and older youth drown in open water, such as ponds, rivers and lakes, more than any other location. With less access to lifeguarded aquatic locations this summer, youth and teens may be tempted now more than ever to swim in open water environments that are not designated for swimming.
BE WATER SMART Being ‘water competent’ means having water smarts, having water skills and knowing how to help others. The Red Cross recommends that everyone be able to achieve the skills of water competency: be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.
- Download the Red Cross Swim App and take our new free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers and Be a Water Safety Ambassador online courses.
- Learn First Aid and CPR/AED skills so you’ll know what to do until emergency help arrives.
- Around the water, have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Don’t swim alone and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. If at a home pool, ensure that there is active adult supervision during swim time and barriers to prevent unsupervised access to the water at all other times.
- In the event of an emergency, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble. Don’t go in! You could become a victim yourself.
- Constantly supervise children around water and avoid distractions. Stay within arm’s reach of young children. If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers to prevent unsupervised access to the water.
- In group situations, designate a water watcher whose sole responsibility it is to oversee the activity in the water.
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
CIRCLE OF DROWNING PREVENTION
Layers of protection are essential to help prevent drowning. Plan for aquatic activities:
- Provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water
- Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing
- Learn swimming and water survival skills
- Children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets;
- Always swim in a lifeguarded area.
WATER SAFETY FOR KIDS Visit our new Water Safety for Kids site for videos, activities and quizzes. Additional Water Safety Resources are available.