How to Keep Your Children Safe When Swimming 

 Originally Written: July 27, 2011

By  Hanna Trafford

It is more than disturbing that hardly a day goes by when you wouldn’t hear about injuries, illnesses or deaths caused by some people ignoring water safety rules. Its those quite simple rules that are tend to be set aside, basically because some people think that it couldn’t possibly happen to them. I hope you are not one of those people, but I decided to address the issue of water safety anyway.The Canadian Red Cross has some very good points on their website and detailed information that could be very helpful to you.


There are some very basic protection steps that I am sure everyone is familiar with- they just need to be followed:

  • If you have a pool, make sure it is childproofed and never leave children unattended – even if he knows how to swim. Swimming lessons do not make your child drown proof.
  • Making your swimming pool safe means having it protected by a fence with locked gate. Self- locking gate is ideal, since you could forget to lock it each time it is used.
  • Make sure your child cannot get out of the house and to the pool – have a good secure lock or latch on access entrance to the pool from your house.
  • Only allow child to dive if you are watching them and if you know how deep the water is.
  • When near a lake, river or any other body of water, always use a life jacket. Only those life jackets properly approved by authorities – like Coast Guard should be used. Floaties and other water games devices are wrong to use on watercrafts, jet skis, water skis, etc. – it is asking for big trouble if that’s what you decide to use.
  • When on a lake or ocean, only swim in the designated areas. Remember that you have no idea where and how strong currents can be. You should only be swimming in an area where you can be sure to be able to safely return to the shore.
  • It is a great idea to have your children take swimming lesson as soon as they are old enough. Try your local YMCA or recreation centres to get lesson information
  • Learn a CPR – it could be the most  valuable lesson you can take and it could safe a life.
  • Have a phone handy and know numbers to call in a case of emergency.


Those are the basics – but did you know that there are hidden dangers you need to be aware of? Many people will overlook the fact that children can get sick from germ in the water – in the pools, lakes and also in water parks. Here are few step you can take to keep your kids – and everyone else – safe while swimming:

  • Water contaminated with parasites, bacteria and viruses is not an unusual occurrence. Most common symptom of contracting illness while swimming in contaminated water is diarrhea and if that happens, contact the proper authorities – like your local health department and tell them it is possible that water is contaminated. Same goes if your child or you end up with a pink eye – advise your local heath department of the possibility that water is contaminated.  If you or your child have any symptoms of illness before going swimming – don’t – you will make others sick if you do.
  • You would think that chlorine in the pools and waterparks will kill all the germs in the water. It does kill most of the germs, but it takes time for chlorine to take action – sometime as much as an hour. So if your child gets into the water after a child who is ill, chlorine in the water doesn’t have time to do its job. And some persistent parasites that can enter the water take even longer to be killed by chlorine.
  • You are reading this wondering just how to keep your child safe with knowing these facts. The most important thing to teach them is to never swallow water when swimming or playing – majority of the germs and parasites can only enter the body if ingested. And few more basic rules:
  • Keep your child out of the water if he has diarrhea, pink eye, hepatitis A ot any other contagious disease
  • Don’t let you child into the water if he has an open wound – it could get infected
  • Don’t let your child share beach towels
  • Teach your child to take a shower before and after using the pool
  • Make it a rule for your child to always wash their hands after using the bathroom – especially if swimming
  • Take your younger child to the bathroom frequently to avoid possible “accidents” in the water
  • Remember that swim diapers and swim pants are not leakproof – check them frequently and wash your child’s bottom and your hands well.

Please have a safe summer and send me your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is very welcomed and very much appreciated


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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