While Spring has had a (VERY!) slow start here in Wisconsin, warmer days are ahead. With them, a summer full of hot sunny afternoons at the pool, in the splash park or boating on the lake. There truly is nothing better than cooling off in the water on a hot summer day – and in the Madison area, we are so fortunate to have our beautiful lakes to explore. That being said, water safety is critical to making sure you, your family and your friends are safe this summer. SwimWest has always made safety our first and top priority, and we want to give you the tools you need to keep water safety top of mind in the coming months. While you have likely heard these before, getting a quick refresh before the chaotic summer schedules will make sure you and your family are ready for splashing, swimming, boating and alllll the water activities!
So let’s refresh. Here are 5 water safety tips for spring and summer. Here’s to lots of fun in the sun ahead!
- Water Watcher. Our number one tip is the most important advice we can give you – make sure you designate a water watcher whenever you are near water. This is critical even when you aren’t expecting a child to be swimming. When kids have access to a pool (at a hotel or vacation home for example), you may not expect them to open the door and get into the water when you aren’t paying attention. Unfortunately, this has led to very tragic outcomes. Always make sure someone is in charge of keeping watch of the kids – whether they are actively swimming or just in a place they can easily access the water. That person should be focused on the kids and not using a phone, drinking alcohol or engaging in distracting conversation. Nothing prevents a tragedy better than supervision!
- Layers of protection. Make it tricky for a child to get into trouble by adding layers of protection when they are near a pool or body of water. A locking fence around the pool, doors locked to the outside (with audible alerts if you have children more likely to try and “escape” supervision), lifejackets available and safety equipment nearby and easy to use.
- Buddy system. Have your child buddy with another friend, cousin or family member to make sure they are both keeping the other’s safety top of mind. This doesn’t replace the water watcher, but it adds an extra layer of diligence while kids are swimming.
- Be prepared. Always make sure gates are locked, kids are wearing life jackets when out on open water and safety equipment is available.
- No drinking. Avoid alcohol while supervising swimmers or boating. If you do choose to drink, make sure there is someone else abstaining that can help supervise.