In Charleston, boating, kayaking, splashing at the water park or playing at the beach are favorite summertime activities and great ways to beat the heat and humidity. But for a large portion of children and adults who can’t swim these water activities can quickly turn dangerous.
Charleston County Park & Recreation is actively promoting water safety not only at its park facilities, but throughout the entire Lowcountry because water truly is everywhere.
Toddlers and small children can dart out of parents’ view in a matter of seconds, which is all it takes for the child to fall into a swimming pool or even a neighborhood retention pond.
Here are five ways to keep your kids safe in the water:
1. Get swim lessons - for everyone.
Not only should children take swimming lessons at an early age but it’s important for parents and other adult guardians to know how to swim as well. Swimming lessons are available specifically for adults, so it’s never too late to learn.
2. Keep non - swimmers close.
If your child is not a strong swimmer, keep her within arm’s reach. Even if your child is taking swimming lessons, he may not have fully developed all the skills necessary to swim well or rescue himself from a potentially dangerous situation.
3. Have a plan in place.
Before heading to the waterpark or beach, talk with your children about what happens if they get lost. Have a meeting place if you get separated. Make sure they know where the lifeguards are located or an information center where they can get help.
For older children, make sure they know your mobile phone number and if your children are small, write the number on their hand or pin it on a piece of paper to the back of their shirt.
4. Always keep kiddos in sight.
Even if you’re swimming with a lifeguard present, it’s critical to pay attention to your kids. It might be tempting to turn your back for a few moments, especially if the child is older and a good swimmer, but accidents can happen and you need to be ready to act quickly.
5. Swim where there's a lifeguard on duty.
An extra pair of eyes never hurts. The beach county parks have lifeguards on duty in the summer so take your family to those sections of the beach for added safety.
Watch this video in which a lifeguard at a local waterpark springs into action to help a child who is potentially drowning.