How to Teach Your Children About Water Safety - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jul 7, 2023

How to Teach Your Children About Water Safety

Use These Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe In and Around Water!

When preparing for a beach day or an afternoon by the pool, water safety might not be the first thing that comes to mind, unless you are chaperoning children.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of fatalities in children ages one to four.

We know that when it comes to your children, safety is a top priority. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on ways to teach your children about how to best protect themselves in and around water in order to spread awareness and help protect what matters most. Continue reading to learn more.


Swimming Safety: The Basics

When it comes to keeping children safe, it's important to realize the important role parents and caregivers play in protecting our little ones from drowning and other water related accidents. Knowing how to prevent incidents like these is one major step towards the goal. Follow these tips to help prepare yourself and your children to be in and around water:


   Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). You can learn more and register for a class through your local Red Cross.

   Teach children to float before focusing on the act of swimming.

   Enroll children in swimming lessons as early as possible. According to the EDC (Education Development Center), learning to swim can reduce chances of drowning by nearly 88%.

   Never leave children unsupervised. Teach children to always wait for an adult before entering or going near bodies of water.

   Remind children to always swim with a buddy, preferably a trusted adult.

   Only use life jackets that have a U.S. Coast Guard approval. It is recommended that you avoid “water wings” and other floatation devices as they can slip off the arms of a child, leaving them unprotected.

   Teach children to enter the water feet first, as serious injury can occur from diving headfirst into unknown bodies of water.

   Test the water temperature before entering any body of water, as jumping into water that is too cold can cause the body to go into shock.

   Always keep a phone nearby, no matter where you or your children are swimming so that you have the ability to contact emergency services at a moment’s notice.

   Remind children never to go into a public body of water where a lifeguard is not present.


Safety Tips for Swimming Pools

Although there are general safety precautions that you and our children can take, the environment in which you choose to go swimming can have a major effect on your safety. Include these additional tips in the discussion around water safety before your next trip to the pool:


   Always follow the posted safety rules.

   Take note of any signage around the pool area, including signs that indicate the depth of the water.

   Stay away from pool drains. Hair, limbs, and clothing can get entangled in a faulty drain.

   Pack a first aid/safety kit with your children and explain what each item should be used for.

   Teach children to remove any pool toys from the area when not in use. This can mitigate the risk that other children will enter the water unsupervised to retrieve them.

   If you have a pool in your yard, you might consider installing safety alarms that will go off when the area is entered. You will want to teach your children what the alarm sounds like, so if they hear it, they can call for help.

   For both above-ground and in-ground pools, be sure to secure the area with appropriate locks and barriers.


Swimming Safety Tips for Natural Bodies Of Water

Just like with swimming pools, natural bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and oceans will come with their own set of safety hazards. Teach your children to avoid an accident with these additional safety tips:


   Always swim near lifeguards and stay where you are visible.

   Always stay within the designated swimming areas.

   Pay attention to signage and postings in the area.

   Do not swim in water that is polluted. 

   Know and understand your limits as a swimmer. Swimming in open water is a much different experience to that of a swimming pool. Colder waters and currents can create dangerous conditions that can be a challenge for even the strongest swimmer.

   Don't venture far from shore and be aware of currents.

   Insist on wearing a life jacket at all times, even if you are on a boat.

   Teach children not to lean over the edge of any boat, especially if that boat is moving.

   Always check the weather before heading into the water.

   Take intermit breaks while swimming to avoid fatigue. Exit the water if you start to feel cold, tired, or hungry.


Know How to Respond to a Water Related Incident

Knowledge is key when it comes to keeping our children safe in and around water. Educating children early on, along with keeping yourself informed on how to handle emergencies can make the difference between life and death. 


   Reach for or throw a safety floatation device to help someone who is struggling in the water. Avoid entering the water yourself as you could then find yourself in the same situation.

   If a child is missing, always check the water first. Alert a lifeguard if present.

   Learn to recognize the signs of someone drowning or in trouble and call for help.

   Contact emergency services as soon as possible when needed.

   Learn how to utilize CPR.


One of the most important things you can do when teaching your child about water- safety is to thoroughly explain why following these procedures is important. Be sure to sit down with your family before each water-related adventure to review the established rules and precautions. We know that your family’s safety is of the utmost importance. To learn more about how to keep your children safe while out and about, check out the link below.