Keep Swimming Safely

The weather has warmed up, and your family is ready to ring in summer the right way—by swimming at the beach or pool. Swimming is a great way to exercise and have fun during the warmer months of the year, and taking steps to promote good swimming habits can keep everyone in the family safe.

Although swimming is a fun outing the whole family can enjoy, unintentional drowning is a serious issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die from drowning every day.

Stay Safe

An easy way to prevent unsafe swimming is to make sure your children are always supervised while in the water. If you have a pool at your home, make sure the pool is guarded by a fence. Fences help prevent children from going swimming while unsupervised or falling in the water.

Also be sure to follow these tips for swimming safety:

• While your children are at the pool, do not allow them to run around the pool’s perimeter. Kids can easily slip on the wet concrete and get hurt or accidentally fall into the pool.

• Take ample breaks for snack times. Do not allow food, candy or gum in the water.

• Make sure your children only swim in depths appropriate for their age and swimming ability.

• Know and follow any rules posted by the lifeguards or pool staff. If you’re swimming in the ocean, be mindful of the tide, which can easily pull a person out further into the water.

Graduating From the Doggie Paddle

You may also want to invest in swimming lessons for your family. During these sessions, participants learn proper swimming techniques, and in some cases, CPR. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children as young as 1 year old can benefit from swimming lessons.

Stay Healthy and Cool Playing in the Pool

With a foundation of safe swimming habits, your whole family can enjoy swimming in the pool. Try these games to get the fun started:

• Find the Treasure: Drop coins into the bottom of the pool, and each player has to go underwater to retrieve the coins. Whoever collects the most coins is the winner. If your family swims at a public pool, make sure the coins are in accordance with pool rules.

• Marco Polo: One child is chosen as “Marco” and then closes his or her eyes. The other players go to other sides of the pool, and Marco says, “Marco!” The other players respond, “Polo!” Marco attempts to tag the other players with his or her eyes still shut. After Marco tags someone, that person is the new Marco.

• Sharks and Minnows: One player is chosen as the shark, who stands outside the pool with his or her back turned, and the rest of the players are minnows, who stand in the water at one end of the pool. The shark names a category, such as “flowers,” and each minnow thinks of an item that would fit in the category, such as “daisy.” The shark then begins to call out items in the category, and if the item the minnow thought of is called out, the minnow must quietly race to the other end of the pool. If the shark thinks a minnow is crossing, he or she can jump in the pool and tag the player. The minnow tagged is now the shark.

Sources: kidshealth.org, cdc.gov, safekids.org, gameskidsplay.net