Swim & Water Safety for Little Learners

Water safety saves lives.

Water play is a great way to cool off and spark learning and fun for your little fish. But it also comes with some serious safety risks. Most recently, The German Lifeguard Association — the world’s largest lifeguard organization — issued a warning to adults on phone distraction.

In the U.S., drowning rates are highest among children ages 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with most of drownings occurring in home pools.

To make sure Day Early Learning families know about swim and water safety, we compiled some lessons and tips from our friends at Indy Parks.

Click here to watch a video with professional lifeguard, Sandy Piltz. This video includes swim safety tips for kids and for adults.


Swim & Water Safety Tips

1. Be cool, follow the rules.

Before your child does a cannon ball into the pool, be sure to talk to them about the pool rules and why they’re important. Here are a few basic but important rules to remind them of:

  • Use walking feet.
  • No diving in shallow water.
  • Don’t get in the pool or body of water unless there is a lifeguard on duty or an adult who is watching them.
  • Never go to a pool alone.

Also, point out any lifeguard stands and first aid stations. Talk to your child about the role of lifeguards and who to go to if help is needed.

2. Always swim with supervision and a buddy.

No matter how much experience they’ve had in the water, young children aren’t strong enough swimmers to be on their own. Remind your child – under the age of 9 – to stay within arms reach of an adult at all times while in the pool. Older children should swim with a buddy in a supervised area.

3. Practice floating positions.

Teaching your child to float on their back may not be easy, but it’s an important skill for them to learn. Before attempting it, explain why it’s so important.

Activities to try:

  • Practice different floating positions: front float, survival float and back float.
  • Practice breath control by blowing bubbles while floating.
  • Practice rolling over from front to back.

4. Look before you leap.

Teach your child about water hazards and to make sure the coast is clear before they jump in. Discuss what children should look for before they jump into the water. Make it fun and have them look and then jump into the pool while yelling “Look Before You Leap!”

5. Think so you don’t sink.

Help your child identify safe ways to help themselves if they have trouble in the water.

  • If they get too tired:
    • What to do: Float and rest on their back before trying to get out and call for help.
    • How to prevent it: Rest frequently out of the water.
  • If they choke on water:
    • What to do: Relax. Tread water or float on their back while coughing.
    • How to prevent it: Learn good breath control. Never eat or chew gum in the water.

6. Wear a life jacket.

Sinking and floating is an early science concept that we talk a lot about in our classrooms. You can use your child’s knowledge of sinking and floating to discuss the importance of a life jacket.

7. Reach or throw, don’t go.

Teach your child skills for a safe deck assist if someone else is in trouble. Emphasize why children should not go into the water to rescue someone in trouble. Instead, they can help in other ways such as:

  • Throwing something that floats to the person in distress
  • Using something to extend their reach to pull the person in
  • Making sure to get down low, on their stomach, so they won’t be pulled in
  • Calling for help

If you have a pool, have your child practice saving someone with equipment.

8. Call 911.

Explain when and how to call 911, emphasizing that 911 is for emergencies only. Use a fake phone and have your child practice calling 911. Role play with your child by pretending to answer the call and ask questions.




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