Find important swim safety tips for older children and teens. It’s important to educate teens about the importance of water safety. “This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine.”
We’ve been sharing quite a few safety tips here on the blog lately. Today, I’m back to talk about another important concern. Swimming.
Every summer I see tons of swim safety tips for younger children, but rarely do I see tips for older children and teens. Sadly, many tweens and teens struggle in the water because they aren’t comfortable swimming, don’t know how to swim, or just because they are boys. And if you’re a mom of boys, you know exactly the horseplaying-dunking-water activities I’m talking about! Since we have boys in that tween and early teen year age range, it’s important to me to stay on top of summer swim safety. Our boys are comfortable in the water, but that isn’t the case for everyone, and comfort doesn’t always mean safe. These tips are ideal for the older age range, and will help you to feel confident that your kids are safe in and around the water this summer.
Since we have boys in that tween and early teen year age range, it’s important to me to stay on top of summer swim safety. Our boys are comfortable in the water, but that isn’t the case for everyone, and comfort doesn’t always mean safe. These tips are ideal for the older age range, and will help you to feel confident that your kids are safe in and around the water this summer.
Swim Safety Tips For Older Children And Teens
Talk to your kids about their comfort in the water. The tween and teen years are tough enough already without the embarrassment of not being able to swim. Even if your child has taken swim lessons, that doesn’t automatically mean they feel comfortable in the water. Some prefer pools with shallow depths, while others can swim wonderfully but hate going into the ocean or a lake. Talking to your kids about their comfort level, and making sure they understand you are not going to judge them for their fear or concern is important.
This is especially important if you will be going out to swim or hang out at a pool or beach with friends and family. This age means embarrassment is a huge risk factor. Talk before you leave home so you understand when you might need to step in and be the parent to get your kids out of a risky or uncomfortable situation. It would be a lot less embarrassing for Mom or Dad to tell a child they can’t swim right now than to have that child get out into the water and panic or struggle in front of friends. Set ground rules, and offer to be the escape route so your child doesn’t feel peer pressure or embarrassment. Sometimes your kids can be thankful you are the “bad guy”.
Invest in swim lessons. If for some reason, your older child or teen isn’t able to swim yet, it’s time to invest in swim lessons. It is important that every child knows how to swim. My boys started when they were toddlers. They showed me at a young age they were not scared of water. Even if your child learned to swim easily, swim lessons are a great investment. Not only do they teach your kids about proper breathing techniques and basic water safety, but they will also help them become more comfortable in different situations that could arise. Most local communities will have a pool and swim lessons available for a small fee each Spring and Summer.
It’s also important to have your teens to take CPR lessons. As parents, we never want to think bad thoughts about something happening to our kids, but this is another safety precaution. Having your kids pick up another necessary life skill may come in handy down the road one day. You can head to the Red Cross website to find a class near you.
Teach them when playing is okay. One of the biggest risk factors for older children and teens when it comes to swim safety is that play time is often taken a bit overboard. Jumping, diving, splashing, and dunking each other is often a big part of fun play in the water with kids of all ages. My boys are notorious for dunking each other in the water. To them, it’s all fun. But it’s no longer fun when you’re trying to perform CPR at the edge of the pool. And if your child isn’t comfortable in the water this can be a very dangerous situation. Not only do you need to talk to them about the fact that it is okay to say no to water games, but you should also encourage them to accept no for an answer from their friends or family in the water with them. It’s almost important to remind them each time they are going into the pool about what’s appropriate and what is not acceptable. Nobody should be forced into water play that is uncomfortable for them.
Additional safety factors to consider.
Many kids and parents are under a few misconceptions when it comes to swimming and water safety.
In partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, Nationwide released research – particularly pertaining to poolsafety – that explores perceptions and behaviors related to children’s water safety, given the fact thatdrowning is the #1 cause of injury–related death in kids under 4. The types of questions ranged fromunderstanding parents’ concern about water safety to determining the proportion of children whohave had swimming lessons in the US.
The findings revealed that 8 in 10 parents surveyed reported that they plan to be in a pool this summer, yet there is a true awareness and action gap between what is understood as a risk or warning sign of drowning and what is the reality:
Misconception 1: I will hear my child if he/she gets in trouble in the water and starts to drown.
- Reality: Drowning is silent. A drowning child may not splash, wave or yell, but nearly half the parents surveyed think that if a child was drowning nearby, they would hear him/her. And be sure to you’re in the know on what dry drowning is, and how it’s crucial to keep an eye on your children at all times (regardless of age).
Misconception 2: Nothing bad will if I take my full attention off my child for a couple of minutes.
- Reality: Drowning is quick. Once a child begins to struggle, parents may have less than a minute to react. However, one in three parents surveyed has left their child at a pool for two or more
minutes without supervision3-5.
Misconception 3: If there is a lifeguard at the pool I don’t need to worry as much about actively supervising my child in and around water.
- Reality: More than half the parents surveyed think that when present, a lifeguard is the main person responsible for their child’s supervision. However, a lifeguard’s job is to enforce pool
rules, scan, rescue and resuscitate, not keep an eye on any specific child6.
Misconception 4: If my child has had swim lessons I don’t have to worry about him/her drowning.
- Reality: Swim lessons are essential, but research suggests that often parents overestimate their child’s swimming ability. Of parents surveyed, 60 percent said they would not worry as much about drowning if their child had swim lessons, yet a review of children who drowned in a pool
revealed that 47 percent of 10 to 17 year-olds reportedly knew how to swim7.
Misconception 5: If my child can swim he or she has all the necessary water survival skills.
- Reality: While swim lessons are important, most parents surveyed were not able to identify water survival skills or understand how having those skills differs from being able to swim.
Misconception 6: If there is a fence around the pool property, my child is safe from drowning.
- Reality: Despite the fact that a majority of young children drown in home pools, parents with pools on their property did not demonstrate adequate understanding of the importance of supervision and effective barriers, including fencing, in preventing children from drowning at
Misconception 7: My learning CPR is not going to make a difference if my child gets into trouble in the water.
Reality: Despite the fact that initiating cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the scene before Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrives increases the likelihood of survival, 4 out of 10 parents surveyed reported that they have never been trained in infant and child CPR8.
Summer Fun in the water and swim safety are big for our family. Whether it is local pools or the many summer trips we take together, swimming is one of our favorite things to do. These swim safety tips are what keep us safe and happy in the water.
Do you have additional safety tips to add? Feel free to drop me a line below!