With summer just around the corner, we are definitely planning to spend most of our long, hot days in the water! Living in Florida the temperatures can easily hit triple digits in the summer so pretty much the only way to be outside is to be in a pool, and with a young child and a toddler at home, we’re already starting to think about water safety tips to keep the kids safe in the water this summer. I thought I’d share some of the tips that we use to keep our little ones safe in and around water, as well as some pool safety tips that we’ve picked up over the years living in Florida.
This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Water safety tips for babies and toddlers for the summer
Use baby and toddler flotation devices to keep babies safe
My toddler Grayson has always been a little nervous around the water, although I’m happy to say that’s changing these days. Since he’s still too young to swim independently, we always use a baby flotation device for him when we go to the pool. My go-to flotation device is the SwimWays Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy which is the number one best selling baby float in the US, and consistently receives 4-5 star ratings from consumers (including me!) We used it on our recent family trip to Amelia Island and Grayson not only fell in love with the float, but he fell in love with the water too. Recommended for babies age 9-24 months, I love that the float has a large circumference and inner spring that makes the float feel super stable in the water (no tipping backwards or forwards), plus the safety valves and dual air chambers enhance security so I feel safe letting him float around. There is also a removable sun canopy with 50+ UPF protection, which is so important in the hot summer sun, and a mesh play space where he can splash around (which he loves to do!) Best of all, the float folds up completely flat and comes with it’s own carry bag – this is such a life saver when I’m trying to wrangle a toddler, a young child, and all of their pool stuff! SwimWays is the industry leader in promoting water safety and helping families teach children to learn to swim, evidenced by the fact that they founded National Learn to Swim Day, which falls on the third Saturday of May each year. You can read more about how the float has helped my toddler feel more comfortable in the water here.
Teach toddlers to swim as soon as possible
Living in Florida, we are surrounded by water and teaching my kids to swim has been incredibly important. My 5-year old Harrison started swimming lessons when he was very young, and he’s now able to swim without any kind of flotation device (supervised, of course) and is confident in the water. We began with baby swim lessons where I was in the water with him, and progressed to individual lessons where he learned how to swim independently, as well as swim tests where he had to show he could float on his back for a longer period of time, and that he could swim fully clothed. Both of these tests really eased my mind that if he were to fall in the water, he would have the best possible chance of being able to get out safely. As he gets older, we’ll continue the lessons to make sure he’s getting lots of practice and learning new things.
Be prepared for your pool day
During the summer, I keep a pool bag packed at all times so that whenever we’re ready to go to the pool, I have everything I need right there ready to go. I find that if I don’t pack a pool bag ahead of time, I’m left running around trying to gather things together as the kids wait (usually not very patiently!) and inevitably something gets forgotten. Generally my pool bag contains a change of clothes for the kids (since we hit the pool already wearing their swim gear), swim diapers for my toddler, towels, sunglasses, sunscreen, a few pool toys, and the SwimWays baby spring float sun canopy for Grayson. Having everything organized at the pool means I know where I can find the things I need and I’m not having to take my eyes off the kids to hunt for something. It also means I know I have what I need to keep them safe. When we get back from the pool and everything has been washed, I repack the bag so it’s ready to go again.
One of the biggest challenges I find when at the pool is staying alert and keeping my eyes on two kids at once. Grayson is almost always in his flotation device since I know he’s safe there, but sometimes he’ll want to come out and sit in the shallow end to splash around or play with water toys. Harrison can swim on his own, but still sometimes gets to the point where he gets tired or in water that’s too deep for him to be comfortable and needs me to help him. I have to be totally alert when I’m at the pool with the two of them, and this means that honestly, we don’t stay at the pool for that long – because it’s exhausting! I would rather take the kids to the pool for just 30 minutes and know that I can be totally focused on their safety for that amount of time, than take them for longer and worry about getting distracted.
Keep little ones close by
The pool we visit in the summer tends to get very busy, and since Harrison is a social butterfly, he loves finding other kids to play with. This sometimes means he gets farther from me than I would like, so I always try to make sure he’s not so far away that if he were to get into trouble in the water, I wouldn’t be close enough to grab him. For me, this distance is about 10 feet, which might not seem a lot, but it’s what makes me feel comfortable. Even in his flotation device, I try not to let Grayson get too far away either; even thought I know he’s totally safe in it, I don’t want him to be too far out of reach. Once the kids are older I’ll feel more comfortable letting them go off and do their own thing (maybe I’ll even bring a book!) but while they’re still so young, I keep them close by.
Invest in pool safety equipment
We don’t have a pool in our back yard, but our neighbors do and they have all manner of pool safety equipment. If you have a pool or are planning to put one in (every summer we say that we’re going to!) be sure to find out the laws in your state regarding pool fences. In Florida, this information can be found here. The legislature goes into detail about the barriers a pool must have in order for it to pass inspection, and many pool owners go above and beyond by adding additional fences, alarms on interior doors and exterior gates, etc. Our neighbors also have water rescue equipment for anyone who might accidentally fall in. It’s important to know exactly what your state requires in order for your pool to be safe, but consider adding additional water safety features as well.
Learn infant first aid
Should the worst happen and your child falls into the water, I think it’s a great idea to know basic infant and child first aid (I actually think it’s a great idea to learn this as a parent, period!) I’ll admit that I didn’t learn anything like this when Harrison was a baby, but after a slew of accidental drownings in Florida when I was pregnant with Grayson, I decided to take an infant first aid course so that I would be as prepared as possible should anything happen. The American Red Cross website is a great resource for this; you can find places to take classes yourself, as well as reading about infant and child CPR (they also have a whole section on water safety and where to find swim lessons near you). You can even watch YouTube videos on infant and child CPR! It’s so horrible to think that you might need to know this, either for your child or someone else’s, but it eases my mind just a little bit that if I did ever need to know how to do CPR, I’m as prepared as I can be.