10 Water Safety Tips for Parents (2024 Guide) 

Summer is here, and that means water activities and trips to ocean or lakes for fun in the sun. It also means that you need to keep on top of your hydration, and the hydration of your kids, especially if you live somewhere hot. Water is a summertime favorite for everyone, but it brings risks as well as fun times. Play it safe, and review our 10 water safety tips for parents to make sure your young ones stay safe in the surf this year. 

Always Supervise Children Around Water 

It should go without saying, but with important safety basics like this, it can’t be said enough: don’t let your kids swim alone, even if the pool in question is a 1-foot deep wading pool designed for babies and toddlers. Small children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water, and require constant supervision until they are old enough to swim and see to their own safety. That generally won’t be until they are over 10 or 12 years old–some children take to the water more quickly than others, of course, but even if your tykes take to the water like ducks, you still need to keep a sharp eye over them, because things can go wrong in a hurry when water is involved. 

Use Water Filtration Systems to Ensure Clean Water 

Drowning is a big and obvious worry, but it is not the only danger associated with water. H2O is a very curious substance, at once the source of all life, and at the same time, a powerful solvent that tears complex things down into more basic physical and chemical components. As “the universal solvent,” water picks up traces of nearly everything it touches, including dangerous heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, human-made synthetics, microorganisms and organic matter, and so on. Whatever exists in a physical form on the planet Earth will eventually get into the water table, and many of the things that can be found dissolved in water are toxic to human beings.  

This is where a home water filtration system comes in. For a minimal up-front investment, and occasional maintenance costs to replace the filters, you can filter water right inside your own home, targeting the specific contaminants present in your region or city. Start by filtering out physical particulate matter with a sediment filter, then reduce the level of organics with carbon filters, and from there you can move to a reverse osmosis system, if you have high levels of dissolved solids in your water, or you can simply stack more carbon, for extended contact time and more adsorption and removal of pollutants. 

Teach Children to Swim Early 

Learning to swim is a bit like learning a language–it’s easier to do it when you’re young. Get kids used to the idea of the water early on with baths and visits to kiddie pools, and encourage them to be brave, and hold their breath under water, learn to kick their feet, and so forth. If children can get past the initial fear, and learn that they can have a lot of fun in the water, the whole experience becomes much more enjoyable. Finding ways to make the learning process more like a game will often incentivize nervous kids to get in the water. 

Use Life Jackets in and Around Water 

Kids may complain about them, and older members of the family may scoff at the suggestion that they need to wear a life jacket when boating or jet-skiing, trusting in their ability to make it back to the boat or watercraft, but that is a mistake. Even experienced swimmers should wear life jackets when swimming in the open ocean or in a lake, especially if they are riding or driving watercraft. If someone wipes out on a ski-doo or jet-ski, they could be thrown far from the craft, and having the buoyancy and visibility of a life preserver will help them to regain their craft, and help other drivers and swimmers to spot them in the water. With kids especially, there is no reason to take any risks. Whether they can swim or not, they should be in a life vest. 

Keep Pools and Spas Covered When Not in Use 

Open, uncovered water is dangerous, plain and simple. Pool, hot tub, and jacuzzi areas should be fenced or otherwise cordoned off at all times so that children cannot unwittingly wander into the pool. Additionally, when the pool is not in use (at night, or during off-seasons), the pool should be covered to minimize any risks of drowning, as well as to keep leaves and other debris out of the pool. 

Install Pool Fences and Alarms 

Depending on where you live, you may be legally required to build a fence around your pool; many municipalities require it, in order to protect children from accessing the water accidentally. Be sure to check with local authorities, and contact a lawyer if you are in any doubt about what is required for your pool or hot tub. 

Educate Children About Water Hazards 

Accidents tend to happen when people are uninformed about the risks of a given activity, or the proper way to do things. Children should be taught a healthy respect for water, and what it is capable of, from a young age. A visit to the ocean is a stern lesson to all–as you watch the riptide roll back out into the sea, and feel it pull on your body, you realize just how powerful a giant mass of water can be. Don’t let kids have their first realization be in a practical setting–warn them of the dangers of water before an emergency happens, so they will know what to be on the lookout for. 

Keep Emergency Contact Numbers Handy 

It’s a good idea to pre-program emergency contact numbers into your phone, or even take the time to memorize them. Your family doctor, the poison control center, any family contacts you would need to reach out to in an emergency, and plumbers for any emergency plumbing services required, are all good options to have on speed dial. 

Ensure Drains and Filters Are Functioning Properly 

To try and minimize the number of trips that plumbers and maintenance workers need to make to your house, keep an active eye on your pipes, drains, and filters. Over time, water fixtures can clog with sediment or scale, and become less effective. You can cut through limescale deposits with white vinegar, so do that from time to time to keep things running smoothly. 

Learn CPR and Basic Water Rescue Techniques 

If an emergency does happen, you want to be prepared for it. Especially if you have young children, it is worth taking the time to take a CPR course, and become versed in basic water rescue techniques, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and other basic first aid techniques to employ should such a situation arise. An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is one area where it more than pays to be prepared. 

Conclusion  

Water isn’t our enemy–without it, we couldn’t survive for long at all. However, it is something that demands a healthy level of respect. From tidal waves to dissolved contaminants, water poses a variety of dangers to living creatures, so we need to be on our guard in order to reap its benefits without suffering its wrath. 

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