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Summer Water Safety Tips

Summer is here! Now is the time of year to get out there and enjoy the summer break. The pools are open, the beaches are sunny and warm in Galveston, and the lakes are just waiting for the boats to make some waves.

It's going to be a fabulous summer. Whether you are headed to Galveston beach, slipping the slides at Schlitterbahn, surfing the wave pool at Typhoon Texas, or just headed to the neighborhood pool, don't forget the most important thing...

WATER SAFETY!

How can you keep your child safer in the water? On average, more children suffer fatal injuries due to drowning than motor vehicle and bicycle accidents combined. You would never put your child in a car without a car seat or let them ride a bicycle without a helmet. Yet many of us take children to the pool without following the proper safety steps.

This week we have been teaching kids extra tips on how to stay safer in the water...here are the top 5!

 1. Water Rules Rule!

Always know the pool rules. A big part of water safety is being prepared. Keep emergency equipment by your pool, like life rings (more on that in tip 2!) and a working phone dedicated for emergency use. Be sure someone at the pool knows CPR.

Make your backyard pool safer! What can you do? Surround your pool or hot tub on four sides with a fence that's at least 4 feet high and has a self-latching gate. Don't leave toys in the pool area. Toys, floats, and noodles are too tempting for a small child! Put them away every time in a locking storage container.

If you are at the beach, rules still apply! Watch for the flags being flown and learn what the colors mean. Pay attention to signs that warn of hazards in the water, and weather/tide warnings...especially riptides (learn more about riptides) which can pull even the strongest swimmer under the water.

beach-flags

 2. Throw, Don't Go!

Remember the pool rules tip? Always have something ready (like a life ring) to be able to throw to someone in distress in the water. Even if you can swim, rescuing a panicked person in the water can cause them to drag you under with them. Instead of jumping in after them, throw something that will float so they can grab it in the water.

howey-throw-dont-go

Have you ever seen lifeguards with the long red tube at the pool? That's what it's for! When they rescue someone, it gives both them and the distressed swimmer the extra buoyancy they need.

 3. Wear a Life Jacket!

This is especially true at water parks for children who aren't strong swimmers. However, it's not just for kids. Everyone should be wearing a life jacket when boating, including mom, dad, and pets!

"Can we just use floaties?"

No. Puddle jumpers and floaties aren't proper safety equipment for the water. They also give kids and parents a false sense of security, and give the illusion that as long as a child has a  puddle jumper they are safe in the water. Children don't understand that it is the puddle jumper that keeps them floating, and not their own ability, and can easily slip out of them.

If you are out in the ocean, lake, water park, or boating, use a US Coast Guard-approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device), i.e. a LIFEJACKET!

 4. 'Da Buddy System!

Never. Swim. Alone. Even if you are an adult, never go to the water alone. Even the best swimmers can get into trouble in a backyard pool or (especially) the ocean.

open-swim

One of the best things you can do when you are having swim time is to have a "Water Watcher!" This is an adult who is responsible for NOTHING other than watching the people in the water. This position can rotate every 15 minutes so everyone shares the responsibility.

The problem is that everybody thinks that somebody is watching and it turns out nobody is watching! You can make your own Water Watcher tag or you can download one and print it. This tells the other adults and the children who is going to be watching the pool to avoid distracting them from their important job.

 5. Call For Help!

Know where the guard towers are, whether lifeguards are on duty, and have a plan to call for help. Teach your children how to call 911. As we talked about in tip #1, always have a phone charged and ready for emergency use. 

The BEST way to stay safe?

Sign up for swimming lessons!

According to the National Institute of Health, formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning by 88%.

No one can drown-proof your child, but swim lessons will make them SAFER around the water this summer.

We have been teaching swim lessons in the Houston area since 1964. Hundreds of thousands of children have learned to swim at Houston Swim Club Swim School. We make sure all children receive self-rescue skills in a way that also helps them learn to love the water for life!

We are enrolling children for swim lessons now! Find a class today.

Stay in the loop and don't miss the fun...Follow us on Facebook or Instagram now!

www.houstonswimclub.com 
www.stopdrowningnow.org 

icon-chrisWritten by Chris Fossan, Houston Swim Club

May 25, 2022
"Water Safety" 

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