Now that the summer is here and the weather is hot, kids are in and around water all the time. From backyard pools to public pools to beaches and lakes, children love to splash and swim in the water to cool off. Sadly, the CDC reports that 1 in 5 people who die from drowning every year are under the age of 14, which means teaching your children proper water safety is crucial.
Livingston's list begins by having safety briefings with your children before allowing them to swim, every time. "I outline where they can swim, jump in, how they can jump in, and anything else safety related," she writes of what she covers in her briefings. She also writes that she educates her children on the depth of the water they are swimming in as it pertains to their height. "My kids know depths of water and how to read them on the pool deck, and they know what it means related to their height," she writes. "This piece of knowledge helps them to make good decisions and helps them to understand how water depths are different for each person."
She also touches on a piece of advice that many parents don't often think about, and that's how to get away if another swimmer, who may be panicking in the water, grabs on to your child. Your child may be confident swimming by themselves, but that may change if someone grabs them in the water. "I’ve taught them to suck, duck, tuck: Suck in air if you can (get a breath), duck under the water (the struggling person doesn’t want to go there), and tuck (use your arms and legs to push away) - and then yell for an adult immediately to help the other person," she writes.
It's easy to get distracted by phones or other electronics and books while at a pool, and Livingston says she tells her kids to keep her and her husband accountable while they're in the water. She also says she began using an app when she found she was still being distracted while her children were in the pool. "I changed my tactic and downloaded a reminder app, and I set reminders for every minute. I turn my phone into airplane mode and then use the app. Every minute it alerts me and I have the notification say “Kids Breathing”, so I confirm my kids are ok and then clear the notification."
Livingston suggests having designated breaks when everywhere gets out of the pool, whether it's for a snack or restroom break, or simply because the parent needs it! If the parent has to leave the pool or water area, Livingston says everyone must get out of the water, no exceptions. She also limits who can watch her children while in the water. "This may sound harsh, but I don’t trust other people to watch my kids in the pool. It is me or my husband, that is it," she writes, adding that she makes her children wear lifejackets if they are swimming when she can't be present.
You can read Livingston's tips for water safety in full on her Facebook post below. Water safety is important year round, but especially during the summer months when more children are in the water it's incredibly important to always be vigilant and safe. Livingston's post was so popular it spawned its own water safety page on Facebook.