Swimming Safety Rules For Children

Today’s guest post was written by Irene Madrid, founder of La Petite Baleen Swim Schools, located in Half Moon Bay, San Bruno, and San Francisco, CA. Irene is also a member of the GaGa Sisterhood.

Parents make the assumption that because children are in swim lessons they will perform equally well on vacation. However, children, especially younger children, can be sensitive and react to lakes, rivers, and the ocean even though they have swim skills. Here is a check list for water safety at home or on vacation. Being aware gives us realistic expectations.

With this information in mind, I bid you “Happy Splashing” this Summer, and always… Irene Madrid

Basic Swimming Safety Rules

  • Never swim alone. Even good swimmers never swim alone.
  • Never swim to a drowning person.
  • Get help! Call 911.
  • Throw something that floats to a swimmer in trouble.
  • Basic survival floating and treading are critical to know.
  • Different bodies of water call for awareness and different swim skills.
  • All parents and caretakers should have current CPR certification.
  • Always apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to swimming outdoors and reapply every hour.

Swim Safety At Home

  • Double-check all bathrooms and toilets.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub—even for a minute!
  • Drain all baby/wading pools, buckets, etc., in the yard  immediately after use.
  • Be certain all pools, hot tubs, and ponds have safety covers, fences or nets. (see this post)

Swim Safety On Vacation

  • When renting a vacation home/condo, ask about whether the swimming pool has a gate or safety feature before booking.
  • Discuss what types of water your child will be swimming in. Children may not swim quite as well on vacation as they do in lessons. (The water could be colder, deeper, darker water, or have a current).
  • Always wear life jackets when rafting or boating.

Swim Safety at the Pool

  • Lifeguards should be considered an extra set of eyes. No one will watch your child as closely as YOU will, especially at pool parties where adults are often easily distracted.
  • Wear a ” Water Watcher ” bracelet or necklace as a physical reminder of who is in charge of watching the water. A simple rubber band around the wrist or a fun Hawaiian lei can be an effective reminder. When the water watcher needs a break, she must find a replacement and “pass the baton” to another responsible adult.


  1. says

    I love the idea of the water watcher lei! At a pool party, it would help everyone be aware of who the “watchers” are, so that they don’t unintentionally distract them from their task.

    Drains in pools and spas are another hazard, and one that some grandparents may not be aware of. If drains have not been equipped with the proper covers, fatal entrapment or entanglement can occur.