Swimming Safety Tips: Active Supervision

Swimming lessons for children of all ages and abilities

Swimming Safety Tips: Active Supervision

Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s reach to provide active supervision. We know it’s hard to get everything done without a little multitasking, but this is the time to avoid distractions of any kind. If children are near water, then they should be the only thing on your mind. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.

When there are several adults present and children are swimming, use a schedule strategy to allot each adult a certain amount of time (such as 30-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision. At Hudson Valley Swim, we find this swimming technique to work very well.

For an additional resource on sun and water safety, Love Holidays has published a study on Keeping Your Kids Safe on a Family Holiday. You may find the full guide here.

Start Slow with Babies

You can start introducing your baby to water during bath time. Never leave your baby unattended. But before you add soap and shampoo, put some toys in the water and let them play. Be careful to not get soap or shampoo in the eyes as that can sometimes lead to children that don’t like the water. You can start parent and child lessons at 5-6 months at Hudson Valley Swim.

Educate Your Kids About Swimming Safely

Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. Swimming lessons are a layer of protection but are not a substitute for adult supervision.

Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming. Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. Teach them they should never enter the water unless an adult is present and supervising them. If they are swimming in uncontrolled environments, they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner each time.

Don’t Rely on Swimming Aids

Remember that swimming aids (such as water wings or noodles) are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. Swimming can also encourage bad body position in the water and provide a false sense of security. Water wings or floaties are easy for children to remove and they may not understand that the floaties are the reason they can float. If you need to have flotation for your children by all means use a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device that is sized properly for your child. At Hudson Valley Swim, we do not use flotation devices except as instructional tools. We do not want the child to depend on aids while they learn to swim as we feel these are crutches that may not be available when they are swimming on their own.

Take the Time to Learn CPR

We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. You can even have your children learn CPR. It’s a skill that will serve them for a lifetime.

Local hospitals, fire departments and town recreation departments offer CPR training.

Take Extra Steps Around Pools

A swimming pool is a ton of fun for you and your kids. Make sure backyard pools have four-sided fencing that’s at least 4 feet high and a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised. Do NOT prop the gate open!

When using inflatable or portable pools, remember to empty them immediately after use and store them upside down and out of children’s reach.

Install a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised. A dead bolt lock leading to the pool also creates another barrier to a child getting into the pool unnoticed.