How to: SAFE Summer Fun in the Water

Safe Summer Fun in the Water:

Summer’s a great time to sign the kids up for swimming lessons, not only because it’s fun… but because it’s the safe thing to do. And let’s face it, many of our kids spend enough time poolside in June, July and August to grow gills. So it seemed a timely topic to learn more about. How can we make playing in the water this summer both fun and safe? I asked “Coach Ruthie” of Little Fishes Swim School in St. Louis, Missouri for some pointers and here’s what I took away. These tips are important for parents/kids of all ages but seemed particularly important for parents of preschool aged children and younger.

And for our local Saint Louis, Missouri moms, My Mommy Manual is hosting a playdate for parents and their babies/toddlers from 6 months of age on up at the Little Fishes Swim School this week. It’s FREE for members of our local playgroup. Interested? Join here and then RSVP on the group’s Meetup calendar. It’s indoors in 90 degree salt water and your kids are sure to have a blast.

1) Supervise Children near water:

It is sooooo important that we as parents understand that multi-tasking and the pool do NOT go hand in hand. In today’s fast-paced world, it can get easy to think doing three things at once isn’t too much at all. Wrong. Not when we are talking about water and kids, If the kids are swimming as a group at the pool or lake and there are multiple adults around, it’s easy to think someone else is on “duty”. Instead of assuming, actually talk about which adult is responsible for watching the kids. Take turns/shifts, or better yet, if you are having a party, actually hire a lifeguard to supervise the kids through area businesses like so you can keep your focus on hosting knowing the kids are safe.

2) Invest in a US Coast Guard-approved life vest.

Should supervision lapse, only a real life vest will keep a child from submerging. Air-filled or foam flotation aids are NOT appropriate substitutes. I know… the kids love their arm floaty things. My little guys are just about 18 months old and love their little boats. And then there are noodles, puddle jumpers… the list of fun water options is long and grows each summer it seems. These are are fun and fine for water play, but the important thing to remember is they are no replacement for a potentially life saving vest. And even a vest is no substitute for adult supervision. 

3)    Enroll your child in swim lessons:
Parents are taking lessons with their kids as early as 6 months of age and this is a good thing. The National Institutes of Health says that providing very young children with swimming lessons appears to have a protective effect in keeping them safe and preventing drowning.

Things to look for in a class are 1) small groups or even one on one lessons 2) warm water ( 90 degrees) and salt water is a plus for sensitive skin and lungs  3) indoor classes are a plus as then weather/sun/sunscreen become non-issues – and as a bonus, you can take them all year long. 4) And finally, look to see what level of training or certification the instructors have.

I hope these tips inspire you to take water play seriously in terms of keeping your family safe as you have a BLAST splashing and swimming this summer.

Watch Zen Mommy share her water safety tips with our TV viewers (after the Cars 2 segment on Great Day St. Louis) and St. Louis Moms, don’t forget to sign up for our free Meetup on June 22 at Little Fishes Swim School!


Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy

In addition to mommy-ing to two magical girls and twins born in 2010, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Educator of Infant Massage and health education teacher. Suzanne is the Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yoga Parenting.