Most of what we do here at Geeky Daddy is “Geeky” oriented and looked at from a humorous point of view. At least what counts as humor to us.
But we take the “Daddy” part seriously as well, especially in regard to children’s safety.
With the recent blast of Hoth planet-like weather we have been seeing in Michigan lately, we thought we should take a moment and go over some Winter Water Safety tips to make sure all our younglings outside are playing safely. So we talked to our friends at Goldfish Swim School and they gave us some recommendations.
Here are Geeky Daddy’s Top 5 Winter Water Safety Tips Courtesy of Goldfish Swim School:
1. Stay Off Unfamiliar Ice
This sounds like an obvious one, but when temperatures reach this low, children often just assume that the pond or lake is frozen enough for a pick-up game of hockey.
Unless a lake or pond has been designated for skating and is certified for thickness and safety, stay off of the ice. Never walk on rivers or retention ponds, and remember that ice thickness can change on different parts of the water, and can be affected by conditions over night.
2. Have An Emergency Plan
Plan and practice what to do if someone falls through ice. Teach children not to panic if they fall through the ice; slow, calm movement helps retain body heat, which is critical as the body loses heat more than 30 times faster in cold water than cold air. Call paramedics right away even if the child appears OK, don’t take chances. Learn infant and child CPR. Keep rescue equipment, a phone and emergency numbers nearby.
3. Ensure Adult Supervision is Present
Children shouldn’t play outside alone, especially in cold climates. A drowning child usually cannot cry or shout for help, so never turn your back on your child around water, including ice.
Assign a designated watcher so there are never questions about which adult is responsible for watching the child. Also, establish a buddy system with one or more friends and have them look out for one another.
4. Make Swim Lessons a Priority
As young as four months old (or when they establish head and neck control), enroll children in swim lessons. Teach children water acclimation and aquatic survival skills designed to help them survive should they reach the water alone.
We have had Lil’ G-Man enrolled at Goldfish Swim since he was 6-months-old and he loves it. He won’t be challenging Michael Phelps to a race any time soon, but he is already very comfortable in the water.
5. Have Conversations with Caretakers and Kids
If your child goes to a friend’s house to play, ask the adult what kinds of activities they will engage in, and specifically, if they will be around water/ice, and make sure the children are supervised. When traveling to relatives’ and friends’ homes, they may not understand the importance of keeping gates closed, doors locked, etc. This can be especially true when being left in the care of older relatives.
Start a conversation with your kids about water safety and share tips with them about what to do if they fall into water.
This article was written in exchange for the experience of swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School.