When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing better than having a dip in the pool to cool down. Having a swim with your little ones is not only be great exercise, it is great fun and a real bonding experience.  As fun as it can be though, water can also be dangerous, so you need to be extra vigilant when playing in water with your children.

Most swimming pools have various depths and it can be easy to mis-judge where the shallow end stops and the deep end suddenly starts, especially in private pools that don’t have clear markings.  Ensure you know the pool depths before your children jump in for the first time (in case it’s too deep or too shallow).  Drowning can happen extremely quickly and usually silently, without any obvious signs of a struggle. A child can drown in just 2 cm of water, which is barely deeper than some puddles and considerably shallower than the average paddling pool!

Stay safe in the water

So – to make your most of your time in the water, start teaching your children to recognise and observe water safety signs such as no diving, no swimming or deep water as early as possible.   Also, teach them to always follow the guidance provided by lifeguards and indicated by flags to show where it is safe at the beach.  These basic lessons can be real life savers.

Supervision:

Children should always be supervised in the water. It’s tempting to think that they will be safe if they’re wearing a rubber ring or armbands – but you should never rely on a buoyancy aid or inflatable.  Always ensure you are in the water, within reaching distance.  However, it’s not just in swimming pools, lakes and rivers that children require supervision.  You should never leave them on their own in baths or paddling pools and always supervise with any water play.

Stay safe in the water

Fun in the sun:

Please remember that the sun’s rays are magnified by water and it can also wash/rub off as they clamber in and out of the pool, so sun cream should be re-applied regularly when swimming. Children should be discouraged from playing in the midday sun. Swim suits with sun resistance factors are a great idea and waterproof hats and tops will also protect your child’s delicate skin from the harmful rays. Beach shoes are essential if you are swimming anywhere with sea urchins or just to protect little one’s feet.

When on holiday:
  • Check the safety arrangements at the property in advance and choose pools that are fenced with locking gates.
  • Check the property when you arrive to ensure there are no ponds and that the pool really is secure for your child.
  • Always supervise children when they are playing in or near water
  • Teach children to swim from an early age
  • Speak to your children about staying safe in ponds, lakes, rivers and seas and always deter them from diving into any unknown depths.

Encourage your children to enjoy swimming and join them in the water for magical and memorable times. There are so many great water toys that add to the fun you can have together – diving sticks, things to chase and throw and water pistols. Swimming is a great activity that the whole family can enjoy together, so make the most of it by knowing how to stay safe.

First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

www.FirstAidforLife.org.uk offer tailored first aid courses tailored for specific activities and destinations.

Email: emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk or telephone 020 8675 4036 for more information.

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