It’s that time of year – neighborhood pools are opening and millions are flocking to the beach. In addition to the sunscreen, it’s important to pack your “Safety First” mentality when children are near the water.

Children need to learn to swim, and you can help prevent drowning incidents by teaching your kids basic safety rules and swimming skills.

 The National Safety Council recommends you teach your children four key swimming rules:

  1. Always swim with a buddy.
  2. Don’t dive into unknown bodies of water. Jump feet first.
  3. Don’t push or jump on others while in the water.
  4. Be prepared for an emergency. Instruct children on getting help from an adult or calling 911.

A watchful adult should always be present when kids are swimming.

In addition, don’t let your child use inflatable swimming aids (such as “water wings”) without constant supervision. They can deflate, or a child can slip out of them. Children may also forget they are not wearing their swimming aids and jump into a pool on impulse.

As a parent, learn to swim if you don’t already know how and become familiar with swimming survival and rescue techniques.  When visiting public or private pools, it’s also important to become familiar with pool safety rules.

Learn more about drowning prevention in our health library.