As Spring Break approaches (YAY!) and the beach, pool or tropical locale beckons, it’s the perfect time for a refresher course on Water Safety. When you’re in a new or strange environment, you may not be quite as aware of your surroundings as usual, and letting your guard down around water (even for an instant), can be tragic. Kids may be less sure of the rules in a hotel or vacation rental or more curious about exploring in a new place. Adults may be socializing with family members or indulging in an adult beverage. These small changes in routine can leave room for accidents if you’re not prepared.

Here are 7 Spring Break Safety Tips to help you enjoy your vacation while keeping water safety top of mind!

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Whether you’re staying near the pool or beach, kids love water. They are curious and often don’t know their own limits. Make sure to take note of entry/exit points in your hotel or rental property, and how accessible the water is from your location. Knowing the property and it’s strengths and weaknesses can help you create rules (see number 2!) and stay vigilant in new surroundings.
  2. Set and Enforce Rules. It may be vacation, but with drowning the leading cause of accidental death in young children, it’s incredibly important to set and enforce rules around water. For example, let your children know they are not to go near the water without an adult (water watcher! See number 3), or open any doors to the outside. Regular water safety rules also apply on vacation: don’t roughhouse in or near the water, only use coastguard approved floatation devices and ALWAYS make sure someone is in charge of watching the kids and water.
  3. Designate a Water Watcher. Of all the safety tips we can offer, this is likely the most critical. No matter how “secure” the pool may be, if no one is keeping an eye on kids (especially when they aren’t “supposed” to be going near the water), accidents can happen. When you’re on vacation, make sure an adult is always in charge of water safety by designating a water watcher.
  4. Buddy Up. Make sure your kids have a buddy to swim with, even if they are “good” swimmers. This is important for older swimmers that may be more confident in their abilities. Drowning can happen to anyone.
  5. Weather Watch. No one wants rain on vacation, but if a thunderstorm rolls in, make sure you stay out of the water.
  6. Lifeguards. If possible, swim in locations where a lifeguard is present. Not only will they help watch for struggling swimmers, they can help with CPR if needed. They don’t replace the need to follow regular swim safety rules, but the more eyes on the water, the better!
  7. Don’t Drink and Dive. Alcoholic beverages can be such a temptation on vacation – many resorts even often swim up bars. Did you know 70% of water related deaths in teens and adults involve alcohol? Not only is drinking and swimming unsafe for the older crowd, it can be dangerous for those watching younger children. Drinking can easily distract you from keeping your eyes on the water, and slow your reaction time. If you choose to drink, make sure someone sober is watching the kids.

Enjoy your vacations and stay safe! For more information, visit https://redcrosschat.org/2015/03/24/top-tips-staying-safe-spring-break-water-safety-edition/