Spring Break Water Safety Tips for Kids and Families

Families are heading to beaches, pools and lakes this holiday, so it’s a good time to remind guardians of essential water safety tips. According to AAA Travel, Florida is the top choice for a spring break destination, due to its warm weather, pools, beaches, outdoor adventures, and cruise ports.

Water safety tip #5: implement the buddy system whenever children are around the water. Photo c. Cor Dulce for unsplash

Spring Breakers say “Take Me to the Water”

Findings concur with those of a recent Allianz Partners’ survey which analyzed more than 3.4 million flight itineraries insured by Allianz Travel Insurance. Allianz found that 76% of spring break itineraries are for domestic travel and 24% are for international trips. The top 10 destinations for the three-quarters of Americans traveling domestically include five in Florida.

Allianz also found that, other than London, the top 10 international destinations for the 2024 spring break are tropical or Caribbean islands. Whether you are planning a cruise with kids, a theme park adventure, or heading anywhere with myriad swimming opportunities, these water safety tips are timely, too.

Six Important Water Safety Tips

“Spring break is a wonderful time for families to have fun and relax by the water,” Chris DeJong, a five-time U.S. National Champion swimmer, says.

Thanks to him and the Big Blue Swim School for providing guidance and essential swim safety tips for the whole family. Big Blue was founded in 2009 by DeJong, and now has 30 pools offering instruction, with more to come across the U.S.

They have lots of experience in keeping swimmers safe and share their six top water safety tips.

Boy in life jacket sits at edge of pool playing with woman in the water.
Water safety tip #4: life jackets, or personal flotation devices (PFDs), are essential around swimming pools. Photo c. JVR-X-88 for unsplash

1. Lifeguards are not babysitters.

Even with this important safety system in place at pools or beaches, adult supervision of their own children around water is essential.

2. Make yourself familiar with your destination’s pool or beach.

Get to know the pool and beach area where you are staying. Understand what safety measures are in place such as locked gates, fences, and other barriers.

3. Assign a Water Watcher to monitor everyone in the pool.

Designate a Water Watcher — an adult in your group who keeps a close eye on swimmers. We recommend rotating the Water Watcher every 30 minutes to avoid supervision fatigue.

4. Wear a life jacket around water.

Don’t wear just any life jacket. A properly fitting life jacket fits snug, is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, and stays under a child’s chin when they lift their arms overhead.

5. Implement the buddy system.

Even if your child is a proficient swimmer or wearing a life jacket, drowning can still happen. All children should be assigned a buddy to swim with who can raise the alarm if something seems off.

6. Prepare young swimmers to enjoy the water.

In addition to following our water safety tips, prepare by enrolling everyone in formal swim lessons. The CDC notes that formal swim lessons reduce drowning by 88%. That makes year-round, formal swim lessons the best way to help a child be ready around the water.

Parent supervising a young girl on the beach as she walks towards the water at dusk.
Water safety tip #1: adult supervision of novice swimmers and children is essential, even if a lifeguard is on duty. Photo c. Derek Thomson for unsplash

“Drowning isn’t always obvious,” Dejong adds. “Someone struggling may not yell for help, wave their arms, or thrash around. Constant, careful supervision is critical while children are near the water.”

Why not check your area for local swim schools and get the kids started right?

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