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Water Safety - Part 3

At Lakes, Ponds, or Beaches

First, teach kids never to swim alone. Using the buddy system means there’s always someone looking out for you. Make sure your kids understand that swimming in a pool is different from swimming in a lake or the ocean — there are different hazards for each.

Here are some tips:

At the Lake or Pond

• Don’t let kids swim without adult supervision — lakes or ponds may be shallow near the bank and then increase in depth sharply further out from shore.

• Ponds and lakes may hide jagged rocks, broken glass, or trash.

• Make sure kids wear foot protection; even in the water, they should wear aqua socks or water shoes.

• Watch out for weeds and grass that could entangle a leg or arm.

At the Beach

Teach kids to always swim when and where a lifeguard is on duty. They shouldn’t swim close to piers or pilings because sudden water movements may cause swimmers to collide with them.

• Unlike the calm waters of a swimming pool, the beach has special dangers like currents and tides. Check with the lifeguard when you arrive to find out about the water conditions.

• Don’t allow kids to swim in large waves or undertows, and tell them never to stand with their back to the water because a sudden wave can easily knock a child over.

• Teach kids that if they’re caught in a rip current or undertow, they should swim parallel to the shore or should tread water and call for a lifeguard’s help.

• The stings of jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-wars can be painful, so tell kids to avoid them in the water and to tell an adult right away if they’re stung.

Whether at the lake or at the beach, teach your child to get out of the water during bad weather, especially lightning.

Water Park Safety

Water parks can be a lot of fun for kids, as long as you keep safety in mind. Before you go, make sure the park is monitored by qualified lifeguards. Once there, read all posted signs before letting your child on any rides (many rides have age, height, weight, or health requirements).
Teach your kids to follow all rules and directions, such as walking instead of running and always going down the water slide in the right position — feet first and face up.

A Coast-Guard approved life jacket is a good idea, too.

Know which rides are appropriate for your child’s age and development. For example, wave pools can quickly go from calm to rough, putting even a good swimmer in over his or her head. Younger children can be intimidated by older kid’s splashing and roughhousing.

Source: kidshealth.org

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