As summer approaches, many families are excited to spend time at pools, beaches, and lakes. While water activities provide endless fun and are great for keeping cool, they also come with their share of risks, especially for children. Ensuring water safety is crucial to prevent accidents and ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. Here’s a comprehensive guide for parents to keep their kids safe around water.

Supervision is Key

The most critical aspect of water safety is constant, active supervision. Even if a lifeguard is present, parents or guardians should always keep an eye on their children. For younger kids or weak swimmers, stay within arm's reach, known as "touch supervision."

Swimming Lessons

Enroll your children in swimming lessons as early as possible. Many organizations, offer classes for various age groups. Swimming skills not only boost confidence but also significantly reduce the risk of drowning.

Use Proper Equipment

Ensure kids use appropriate flotation devices. Life jackets are essential for boating or when swimming in open water. Choose a certified life jacket that fits your child’s weight and size. Inflatable toys or floaties are not substitutes for life jackets.

Educate on Water Safety Rules

Teach children the basics of water safety. Explain the importance of:

  • Not running near pools to avoid slips and falls.
  • Never swimming alone; always use the buddy system.
  • Staying away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to prevent entrapments.
  • Not diving into shallow water to prevent head and neck injuries.

Fence and Secure Pools

If you have a pool at home, install a fence at least four feet high that completely surrounds the pool. The fence should have a self-closing, self-latching gate that opens outward. This barrier can prevent young children from accessing the pool without supervision.

Learn CPR

Parents and caregivers should learn CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). In an emergency, knowing how to perform CPR can save a life while waiting for emergency services to arrive. Many organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross, offer CPR courses.

Be Aware of Weather Conditions

Weather can change rapidly, especially around water bodies. Check weather forecasts before heading out and be mindful of warnings about strong currents, rip tides, or thunderstorms. If the weather turns bad, seek shelter immediately.

Avoid Alcohol

Adults supervising children should avoid consuming alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, making it unsafe for supervising kids around water or participating in water activities themselves.

Hydration and Sun Protection

While focusing on water safety, don't forget about sun safety. Ensure children are wearing sunscreen, hats, and UV-protective clothing. Also, keep them hydrated by providing plenty of water, especially when they’re playing in the sun.

Educate on the Dangers of Open Water

Open water, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, presents different challenges than swimming pools. Teach kids about currents, tides, and underwater hazards. They should understand the risks of swimming in open water and always swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.


Water activities can be a wonderful part of family life, providing both fun and fitness. However, safety must always be a top priority. By following these guidelines and being vigilant, parents can significantly reduce the risks and ensure their kids stay safe while enjoying the water.