Before going in, on or around the water, every family member should become “water smart,” the American Red Cross says. This starts with learning to be safe, making good choices, and learning to swim to at least achieve the skills of water competency.
Everyone should be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely. A variety of water safety courses and resources are available at redcross.org/watersafety.
Here is a list of tips for staying safe in the water this summer:
- Prevent unsupervised access to water. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, keep a constant eye for any water dangers such as portable splash pools/slides, buckets, and bathtubs.
- Adults should actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and new swimmers. Kids should follow the rules.
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on a boat and if in a situation beyond someone’s skill level.
- Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair — everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Designate a ‘Water Watcher’ to keep a close eye and constant attention on children and weaker swimmers in and around the water until the next Water Watcher takes over.
- Download the Red Cross Swim App for kid-friendly games and activities and water safety information for parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. Download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.