Know your skill level
If you are not familiar being in the water yourself, then you may need to attend some swimming lessons to ensure that both you and your child will be safe. If you are an experienced swimmer, remember not to be over-confident in your skills! Stick to a level in which you both feel relaxed and comfortable.
Keep an eye on the weather
Paying attention to the weather whilst swimming is crucial. As soon as the weather begins to change, make your way to land. Increased winds lead to increased waves, putting you and your child in potential danger. You don’t want get caught swimming in a thunderstorm! Also, make sure the water isn’t too cold before you get in – you may need a wet suit on hand to keep you safe and warm in this instance.
Life vests are sometimes necessary!
If you are planning on swimming in rough and unpredictable waters, you will need to wear a life vest. Even the most experienced swimmers should wear one in these environments, in the event that the water forms a whirlpool or gains a strong current. Better safe than sorry!
Watch out for the current
If you or your child find yourselves in the middle of a rough current; stay calm and wave or yell for help. Swim parallel with the coastline, not against the current. After the current calms down, you should be able to swim back to shore safely. Do not panic, and try to avoid areas prone to strong currents wherever possible.
How to identify a rip current
Spotting a rip current could be the saving grace for everyone’s safety. Rip tides are often deeper than the surrounding water, and therefore can be spotted by appearing darker than the rest of the area. Also, look out for narrow gaps between breaking waves as another key indicator that may have been misssed!
Don’t drink if you are swimming
You should steer clear of alcohol around your children regardless, especially in any potentially dangerous situation. Drinking generally lowers your balance and coordination, as well as making you less responsible, meaning that alcohol and water an extremely dangerous combination. Alcohol one of the leading causes for drowning, so keep caution and make sure no one else is drinking and swimming.
Don’t dive straight away
Before you or your child dives into water, check its depth. Water should be at least 12 feet deep to accommodate someone diving in and, if you do not check before diving, you may be susceptible to a head injury if you hit your head on the bottom. Diving can have dangerous, irreversible and possibly even lethal outcomes if you do not take care and show awareness of your surroundings.
Listen to the lifeguards!
Lifeguards keep an eye out for distress and observe the swimming conditions in order to keep you, and your child, safe. Therefore, if a lifeguard states that its not safe to swim, don’t swim! Make sure you are aware of where the lifeguard is stationed before you start swimming and if there isn’t one, wait for their arrival before jumping in.
Don’t swim alone
Even the most skilled lifeguard may not catch every issue they see if there are large crowds present! Therefore it’s always a good idea to have people with you whilst swimming to ensure that everyone is safe. If they spot something going wrong with you, or those in your care, they can let a staff member know and get the appropriate help.
Talk to a third party
In the event of your friends not realising that something is potentially wrong in the water, tell a third party to make them aware of any potential issues! They can keep an eye on the situation whilst you’re not there, in case they need to fetch you or get help. Ensure you let them know where you’re going, so they can be your first point of contact on your return or if something more develops.