What Moms Are Doing to Keep Their Kids Water Safe This Summer

water park
Image via Mindi Stavish

When most people think about water safety during the summer, they think of pool safety. According to the National Alliance of Drowning Prevention, “drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children ages 1 to 4” and “the second leading cause for kids ages 1 to 14.” Ocean safety is just as important as pool safety. Here is how I experienced this firsthand as a child.

It was a warm sunny day in Florida, the water was almost as blue as the cloudless sky. When we arrived on the beach, I sprawled out my pink New Kids on the Block beach towel. I thought I was the coolest person at Cocoa Beach because I was laying out in the sun on Joey McIntyre. After lounging on the beach for about 30 minutes, I decided to cool off in the water. My mom doesn't swim, so she continued reading her book in the sand while I splashed in the waves.

I'm not much of a swimmer, but this didn't stop me from splashing in the salty ocean. Inch by inch, I got further and further into the water without even realizing it. Suddenly, there was a huge drop off in the ocean floor, and I could no longer keep my head above the water while touching the ground.

Immediately, I began to panic as my arms and legs started to flail. My one and only swim stroke, the doggy paddle, was not pulling me out of the riptide I was caught up in. I could hear only my own voice yelling for help, but was I really shouting? After all, my heart was racing, and I was out of breath. I continued to move my body and looked for other swimmers nearby that may see me struggling.

There was no one. I was all alone and losing my strength, but I kept pushing myself around to try to escape the current. Eventually, I pulled myself out of the mighty channel of water and back to waters where I could once again touch the ground.

Relieved and worn out, I dragged myself out of the water and explained what happened to my mom. She hugged me and told me to be more careful next time. Careful or not, riptides occur when you least expect them, causing an estimated 80% of all rescues needed from lifeguards. They are something you need to be aware of when your children are playing in the ocean.

Visit the National Weather Service for more information on riptide safety.

But it isn't just the ocean that holds dangers. Hear from other moms on ways they keep their kids safe, whether enjoying the pool or the beach, and learn more about safety measures required by law.

swimming with dad
Image via Mindi Stavish

3 Great Water Safety Tips from Moms of Little Ones

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  • “Whether it's shallow or deep water, my kids will have a puddle jumper or other coast-guard-approved life preserver on! The only time I am comfortable with them not wearing something is if I am HOLDING them in shallow water (in other words, where I can touch).” – Candice of Mommy In the Midwest
  • “Weekly swim lessons year round, and I'm a former lifeguard. Not sure I'll ever be OK with her going swimming unless I'm there!” – Kim Seith, mom 0f one toddler
  • “Puddle Jumpers are awesome! For us, we usually skip the pool and hit the splash pads instead. Still fun for the kids, but no swimming skills needed.” – Britney Perkins, mom of two boys

{ MORE: 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Fall Baby }

outdoor pool
Image via Mindi Stavish

Know your limits regarding your kids and the water.

“At home, the pool is 36 inches, and both big kids can touch well. They have to be in there with me or my husband and not with any other adult or teen. I enter the pool first. The ladder is not kept in the pool, so the kids can not enter without a ladder. We teach and talk about water safety a lot. My toddler is held in the pool and is never outside alone. My kids do not go to a daycare that takes them to a beach or pool. I am too nervous of a parent for that!” – Kim Mariom mom of two girls and one boy

{ MORE: Let's Be Real: The Real Work of Pregnancy Comes After the Birth }

“My children wear life jackets when swimming or playing at the beach. I also do not take three kids to the beach alone–too much work for one mom, and I feel like I could easily lose one or one could disappear in the water.” – Sidney Seth, mom of one girl and expecting baby #2

kids wearing lifejackets
Image via Flickr/ brightroyalty

Know the laws for water safety.

Many states have requirements regarding swimming pools, hot tubs, or even inflatable pools in residential areas. Fencing, alarms, or other safety measures may be required.

When enjoying the water from a boat, safety is still a top priority.

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The US Coast Guard requires that all children under 13 wear an approved life jacket while on a moving boat, and many states have additional laws in place. Find the laws for your area here.

Knowing your plans, your limits, and the law can help keep your kids safe all summer – and beyond.

MORE: Would You Know Enough to Save a Drowning Child? }

What is your favorite way to enjoy the water during the warm months? What steps do you take to ensure the safety of your children?

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What Moms Are Doing to Keep Their Kids Water Safe This Summer

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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