The most important thing you can do to keep your kids safe around the water – whether it is the ocean or poolside – is to pay very close attention. Someone should always have their full focus on any children in and close to the water. If you are that designated person, never let your guard down. Don’t take your eyes off the kids for even a minute. That means put your phone down…no calls, no texts, no browsing the Net. It only takes a few seconds for a child to drown. Plus, there is safety in numbers, so the more caregivers that are keeping an eye out for the kids, the safer those children will be. Also, don’t become complacent just because the water isn’t deep. A child can drown in just inches of water, so this goes for kiddie pools and the edges of the surf too.
Additionally, it is important to pay close attention to your surroundings when you are responsible for children in a pool or the ocean. First off, keep an eye on the sky. Weather can abruptly change here in Florida, so when the skies become dark, do not hesitate to seek shelter.
Also check your surroundings for safety. For pools, this includes fencing. Make certain your fence is solid and its locks are in working order (and, of course, locked). When you aren’t using your pool, make sure your safety cover is in working order and properly in place; and always make certain that all of your drains are covered. Pool drains without covers can trap swimmers underwater.
As for your ocean surroundings, you need to be careful of rip currents. Choose an area of the beach where a lifeguard is present; check weather reports prior to heading to the beach, as they will often mention if the weather is ripe for rips; and check your flags.
Double red flags means danger is high and the beach is closed. A single red flag indicates high surf and strong currents. Yellow means your surf and/or currents yield a medium risk. Green means conditions are optimal. Purple indicates that dangerous marine life has been spotted in the area. Yep, there are some fierce creatures out there, so you just want to be careful…of sharp shells and pinch-happy crabs too!
Finally, use floatation devices that are Coast Guard approved. Pool toys such as water wings, noodles and inner tubes should never be solely relied upon for floatation.