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By: John Adams, author of Dadbloguk.com, LinkedIn Changemaker, and dad of two young daughters
Posted on: Jul 21, 2021

Water safety: What families need to know

Vacation season is almost upon us. We’ve already had some really hot days here in my home country of the UK and my children have been asking to go swimming and stand up paddleboarding.

I’m sure it’s the same with many families and that people are planning to visit the beach in the weeks to come. With all this in mind, I thought I’d produce some water safety tips and hacks for families.

Beach safety

If you have children, there’s a good chance you’ll be heading to the beach at some point over the summer months. If so, keep the following in mind:

  • Select a beach that is monitored by lifeguards
  • Get to know your flags. Beaches that are monitored by lifeguards will have flags showing you where it is safe to swim or where you should stay away from. These flags may change depending on the territory you are in so do your homework.
  • Do not use inflatables! Inflatables are not meant for using in the sea. It’s easy to get blown out to sea if the winds are strong so keep inflatables for the pool.
  • Check the tides before you go to the beach. This can often be done using an app (again, this will depend on the territory you are in).
  • Beach safety is not simply about water, it’s about avoiding sunburn as well. See my previous article about summer skincare for more advice on this subject.

Poolside safety

Swimming pools have their advantages because you know how deep they are and there are no tides. They can be better for people with younger families but they still have risks. To stay safe around the pool:

  • Do not run. The tiles around the edge of the pool may well be slippery so always walk.
  • Children can be unpredictable so keep a close eye on them.
  • Get in and out of the pool using handrails at the edges or steps. This is safer than climbing in and out of the pool.
  • Check the depth before diving into the water. You don’t want to run the risk of hitting your head on the bottom of the pool.
  • Whether you are in a pool or elsewhere, never swim alone. Always make sure someone is on hand in case you get in trouble.

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Other options

Pools and beaches are just two options. You may be tempted to go wild swimming in a river or to use a specialist aqua sports lake.

Rivers come with all sorts of risks. Unless you really know what you are doing, it’s probably best to stay away from rivers, especially if you have children with you.

I take my children to an aqua sports lake. This has many benefits. User numbers are limited and you can only use the lake if you have received training. It’s also monitored so if you get in trouble, help is on hand.

July Blog Izzy Paddleboarding
John Adams and family kayaking in England

Make sure you have the correct equipment

Are you going kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing or stand up paddleboarding? If so, you’ll need a good buoyancy aid and will probably want a wet suit.

If kayaking or canoeing, make sure you have a good quality helmet as well (essential in case you roll the kayak). Paddleboard users, meanwhile, should have a leash that you put around your ankle and the board. If you use a leash, you’ll remain attached to your board if you fall off.

One final thought, do you know what you’re doing? Most safety experts recommend you go on a course to learn how to use this equipment before taking to the water. It’s sound advice as many people think it’s very simple and ignore the risks.

John Adams Paddleboarding

Go have fun on the water

There’s lots of fun to be had on the water. It’s also a wonderful way to get exercise and stay in shape.

So long as you take simple precautions, there’s no reason why you and your family can’t have amazing fun on the water. Go, have fun and make memories before winter comes and it gets too cold to take to the water.