Water is a great way for children to have fun during the summer and warm weather. However, did you know that drowning is the leading cause for unintentional drowning in children age 0-4? Whether they’re playing in the bathtub or swimming in a lake, it’s important that you as the parent and your child understand how to be safe while having fun in the water.
Keep reading on for more information on how to practice water safety for your family and child.
Water Safety: Baths
As a rule of thumb, never leave your young child unattended while they are taking a bath because the most common cases of drowning in the bathroom occur when a child is left unattended. Even if they appear to be safely in the tub, accidents happen and they could slip under the water and drown. While it’s important to never leave your young child unattended, there are safety precautions you can take during bath time to protect your child from drowning.
To prevent slipping, you can put a non-skid plastic mat that adheres to the bathtub floor to ensure your child can’t slip and fall. Eventually, your child will want to take baths and showers on their own, and while it’s important to respect their privacy, a bathtub mat can give you peace of mind knowing they have a lower risk of injuring themselves.
Burns from scalding water is also a safety issue to look out for when bathing your children. Be sure to set the water temperature to around 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit. To test the water, place your wrist or elbow in the water to make sure it’s not too hot for your child.
Some general water safety habits for baths include:
- Make sure you are an arms length from your child while they are bathing.
- Fill the tub with 2-4 inches of water for babies and no more than waist high for toddlers.
- Don’t allow older children to supervise without you, the parent, being there. Older children don’t have the reaction skills necessary to protect the younger children from injury.
- Keep electrical appliances like hair dryers and flat irons away from the bathing area.
- Make sure you have all the items you need for the bath before your child gets into the tub: towels, soap, play toys, etc.
Water Safety: Buckets
Buckets filled with large amounts of water can also create a drowning hazard for young children. Toddlers and young children are curious and want to explore the world around them. However, this curiosity could lead to potential dangers if they topple over a bucket that is over half their height. To ensure your child doesn’t injure themselves around buckets of water, never leave your toddler unattended around buckets of water.
There are some tips you can use to make sure your child is safe around buckets of water.
- Don’t allow older children to supervise your young child around buckets of water.
- After you’re done using the bucket, empty the water out so it doesn’t pose a threat to toddlers.
- Move rainfall buckets out of reach from children.
Water Safety: Boats
It’s important that your child is aware of the risks and dangers that come with being on a boat. Many children can suffer injuries while on a boat, but you can take action to ensure they remain safe while having fun.
Issues such as falling off boats and not knowing how to swim remain relevant to small children. However, follow these guidelines to help protect your children:
- Have your child wear a properly fitting and supportive life-jacket. The life-jacket should fit your child’s weight and be suitable for whatever water activities they are doing. Even if they are not physically on the boat, they should wear a life-jacket on the dock because they are still at risk of falling into the water.
- Teach your child how to swim in open bodies of water. If they happen to fall into the water, it’s crucial that they know how to swim so they can get out of harm’s way and make it back to the boat. Additionally, they should understand the difference between open bodies of water and swimming pools.
- Set boating rules, so you children know what they should and should not do. Letting your children know that boats and docks could be dangerous if they don’t follow safety rules is important so they can make smart decisions.
Going out on the boat is a fun time for children and the whole family. However, it’s important that you and your children understand the potential dangers that come with boating on open water. This shouldn’t deter you from enjoying a boat day, but it should remind you and your children that it’s important to be safe while having fun.
Water Safety: Bubbles
Blowing bubbles is an important part of teaching children breath control as they learn how to swim. Children might be scared to put their face in the water for the first time. If you get them to blow bubbles, this is a fun, playful activity that helps lower their nerves and teaches them how to keep water out of their lungs.
Start by having them blow bubbles out of their mouth. You can have them blow bubbles into water through a straw, have them blow out a candle, give them a bubble wand to blow, or have them just blow into their hand. All of these actions teach them the motion of blowing out. Then teach them how to blow bubbles out of their nose.
Once your children understand how to blow bubbles, they can learn how to swim longer distances without growing too tired from holding their breath constantly.
Water Safety: Bodies of Water
Whether your children know how to swim or not, it’s important to teach them how to be around different bodies of water safely. However, you should teach your children how to swim so they know what to do if they find themselves unintentionally in water.
Also, explain to your children the difference between open bodies of water and swimming pools. They should understand that there are dangers and hazards in bodies of water like lakes and oceans that aren’t present in pools. Once your child knows this, they can swim and have fun more safely.
Here are some tips for ensuring your children are safe in bodies of water:
- Never leave your young child unattended while swimming.
- Help them avoid deep parts of the water where they can’t touch the bottom.
- Make sure your child wears protective footwear so they don’t step on anything sharp while in a lake or ocean.
- Pay attention to any rough water signs or flags posted and be sure to keep your children out of the water at these times.
- Teach your children how to swim out of a rip current if they’re ever in that situation.
Final Thoughts on Water Safety
It’s important for your children to have fun playing in water. However, it’s also important that you make sure they’re being as safe as possible while doing so. Teaching children about water safety while they’re young will help them make smarter, safer choices in the future.
For more educational information on child safety and care, visit the Learning Experience’s Bubbles and Friends YouTube channel.