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Dive into Summer: Safety for Children In & Out of the Water

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

banner of people in a swimming pool with the blog title and name

Summer is just around the corner, and that means tons of fun in the sun for the kiddos! While you’re focusing on the fun and making plans for awesome memories, be sure to also consider some of the health and safety concerns that can come along with all the outside time, vacationing, travel, long days, and sunshine.

a little boy sitting in a shallow pool with a Spiderman life vest on.

The best summer activity obviously involves water play to beat the heat! My son is 4 now and just recently attended his first pool party (indoor, since we’re still on KY time with our warm weather…) and I realized that I haven’t prepped him for pool safety. I had to make sure we had swim trunks that actually fit and, most importantly, had to scramble to find an appropriate floatation device for him. In doing some research on life vests and floaties I discovered a whole lot of water safety that I’d never even considered before. Here are some pointers for summer safety for children, in and out of the water.

Color of Swimsuit

Consider your environmental factors – are you in a pool versus a lake? Is it overcast? This can affect visibility based on the color of the swimsuit your child will be wearing, which can cause it to be difficult for lifeguards to see your child while in the water. Take a look at the color testing done on swimsuits in different environments here ⬇

3 charts showing swimsuit visibility in a lake, light pool, and dark pool. All show that bright and neon colors are best.
Visit for more water safety info.

Dark colors are harder to see under the water when you’re in overcast weather, evening/night swims, or in a darker tiled pool. Shades of blue are harder to see in general. Whites and pastels have lower visibility in light tiled pools. Instead, your child should be in the most obnoxiously bright colored swimsuit you can find! This will ensure visibility in all situations and conditions.

Type of Floaties

When I was a kid, the big options were the arm floaties that ripped your skin off or the donut floaties that made it impossible to right yourself if you got tipped over. Oh, the 90’s! 😂 Spoiler alert – neither of these are really recommended anymore, even though they are still sold in stores.

The most important part of any floatation device is the awareness as a parent that they do not replace supervision and environmental safety measures. During my son’s first pool party, he was decked out in a full on life vest and I still had to intervene at one point when he was unable to right himself after losing his footing. He was still in the shallow end where he could stand upright with his head out of water, he was wearing his life vest appropriately, and he successfully held his breath with his face underwater and took his breaths in as he was able to turn his face to the side, but he was unable to regain his footing or redistribute his weight so that he could stand up again. Had I not been next to him to lift him and assist him in righting himself, he would have quickly tired out between breaths and began to inhale water.

You will want to make sure that your floatie of choice is appropriate for your child’s age and weight. Any floatie should be worn as intended and well fitted so they aren’t able to slip off. Some floaties, such as the chest panel with arm floaties often called puddle jumpers, can restrict arm movement and make it harder for the child to swim. Many floatation devices sold in stores also don’t meet the standard for the US Coast Guard due to inadequate buoyancy or degrading materials that can make them less effective over time.

image of the US Coast Guard approved label on life jackets

The safest flotation device is a US Coast Guard approved full life vest. And even better is if the life vest has a head pad included to help the child keep their head above water without using a lot of neck strength. Even if your child knows how to swim, it is still advised to wear a flotation device when in deep water.

How can you tell if a flotation device is USCG approved? It will have a little label somewhere that looks like this ➡

Additional Safety Tips

  1. Teach water safety rules – no running on slick surfaces near water, no jumping into unknown shallow water, stay clear of pool drains, and never swim alone.

  2. Teach your child to swim – look up local options for swimming classes. No child is too young to start learning how to swim. If you aren’t able to get your child into swimming lessons, then focus on teaching your child how to float. A key way to help your child save energy and stay above water when in a swimming emergency is for them to know to float on their back.

  3. Keep a phone nearby in case emergency responders are needed.

  4. Be prepared for emergencies. Learn CPR and appropriate First Aid skills. These could be life savers not only in summer swimming fun, but in daily life.

  5. Stay hydrated with appropriate drinking water and make sure to use sunscreen!

These are a few of our favorite summer things:

photo of the 5 different types of Hello Bello Mineral Sunscreen

Hello Bello Mineral Sunscreen - easy to apply with none of the harmful chemicals! They say baby and kid, but I even use them for myself.

🌿Springtime as a boy mom means…

😳We get to start investigating all the creepy crawlies 🐛 I have to admit that I’m a little excited to catch something not too creepy to try out our new Bug Playground! It legitimately has a tiny slide and rock wall 😂 Pretty sure I get just as much fun out of these STEAM toys as my kiddo does! Another great one is Tiny Gardening, complete with all the pieces and parts needed to build and grow a tiny little greenhouse.

Similarly, the Bug Hotel book is a really neat lift-the-flap that teaches about bugs and how they grow, which a section at the end that shows how to build your very own bug hotel in your backyard.


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