It has been a (VERY, RIDICULOUS, CRUEL) spring here in Madison and with the 10 day forecast finally showing signs of relief (83 next week?!) after what feels like endless rain, gloom and cold weather, we’re here to remind you how to keep your littlest swimmers safe this summer. We know there will be boats in the water, toes in the sand as soon as possible, and that includes babies and toddlers who may not have been around the pools and beaches very often a year ago. These littlest family members are curious about water and need lots of supervision and planning in order to keep their safety top of mind.
So, let’s refresh our top safety tips for infants and toddlers as we all welcome the coming sun, warmth and swim days ahead!
- Watch the Play Toys: Babies can drown in just inches of water, making even baby pools or shallow tubs a hazard without supervision. Toys and buckets make water more fun for babies, but also attract them to water when they may or may not be expected to be there. Make sure to keep toy pools, buckets and water toys emptied when not in use, and always be supervising your kiddos when they are playing with toys!
- We Teach Arm’s Reach: If you are near ANY type of water, your baby should be within an arm’s reach, even if they are wearing flotation devices or on a raft or pool float. Accidents can happen in a flash, so being an arm’s reach away can be lifesaving in an emergency.
- Forget the Arm Floaties: Blow up floaties are dangerous and should never be used by young children. Arm floaties can come off, deflate or pop (and if you’ve ever tried one, they are truly uncomfortable, too). Only use coast-guard certified life preservers, and make sure they aren’t being used as a “crutch”. Kids often learn a false sense of safety by constantly wearing flotation devices – as your child grows, make sure they are aware of how Puddle Jumpers or Life Jackets support them, and how to stay safe when they don’t have one on.
- Boating = Life Jacket: Everyone on a boat needs a life jacket, period. Even your infant. This includes stand up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized recreation.
- CPR Training is a great skill for ALL parents: Take a CPR class at a local hospital or community center, and be prepared just in case the worst happens.
- Observe a Parent/Tot Class at SwimWest: Watch how parents interact with their little ones in the water, and learn some of the songs and activities instructors help teach. If your baby is old enough to join in Parent/Tot classes, this is a great introduction to the pool. With warm water and a trusted adult, most babies do really well in these first classes!