Safe Swimming For Families With Kids Who Live On A Lake

Swimming and water games are part of lake life. If you and your family like to swim in the lake here is a check list for keeping kids safe.

  1. Use the Buddy System: While it may be OK for you to go down to the lake for your morning swim, the same doesn't apply to kids under 16. Adult supervision is a must for young children, and the adult should be in the water with them. This is a special bonding activity for parents and kids and will help your young child become more confident in the water Do not put a child in charge of a child.
  2. No diving into unknown waters and no diving in less than 10 feet of water.
  3. Children should go through formal swimming lessons and learn to be safe and competent in and around the water. Children are usually ready for formal swimming lessons around age 4 but should become familiar with protected waters early.
  4. Put a set of dock rules into place: Make list of rules for you and your family to adhere to. Be very clear and post the swimming rules right at the waters edge or on your dock. Here are some suggestions:
    • No showing off
    • No running on the dock
    • No swimming without a buddy
  5. It's a smart idea to know child and adult CPR. Contact the American Red Cross or your YMCA to find out about CPR and swimming lessons.
  6. Have one or more dock ladders for easy exit from the water.
  7. Wear water shoes to avoid slipping or cutting your feet on unseen objects.
  8. Learn to watch for signs of hypothermia which can affect small ones more quickly. Name some of the signs: shivering, goose bumps, blue lips, whatever.
  9. When swimming from the boat be sure that you are at a safe depth for jumping or diving (at least 10 feet for safe diving). It's probably best to anchor up if the main activity is to be swimming. Make sure small children have flotation devices on and an adult should be in the water with them at all times. Life jackets or floaties are not babysitters.
  10. If you have teens who want to invite friends to a party, parents must be there to supervise. No drinking alcohol, because swimming, boating, and alcohol do not mix. No horsing around, even if it bothers your kids that you are strict. Tell your kids in advance YOU are responsible for their guests' safety and there is no arguing with your rules - if they cannot abide by them, no party and no friends at the lake house.

Here are some fun games to play in the water: Marco Polo, racing, volley ball, splash contests, and diving contests.

Stay safe and have fun!

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