Mom, dad, boy and baby at the beach looking into the blue ocean and the horizon

With temperature dropping and snow on the horizon, lots of families make the decision to travel south for much-needed warmth and sun. These sunny holidays usually include lots of water, swim time, and splashing, but just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean you can forget about being safe in and around bodies of water (pools, lakes, oceans, etc.)

The team at DSH has put together some essential tips parents and caregivers should be aware of during their sunny holiday time. 


Constant Watch

Drowning is not like in the movies, there’s not a lot of splashing and yelling, on the contrary, it is very silent. That is why every time kids are in and around water, there should be at least one adult watching them without distractions. No phones, no books, no alcohol, no distractions. Even if you have strong swimmers, or your kids are using any type of flotation device, having an active supervisor, is a must. 

Even if there are lifeguards present or other adults, make a conscious decision to have a Designated Water Watcher for your kids. Change the Watcher every 20-30 minutes, so everybody can have fun!

And remember, always be at arm’s reach from the kids. 


Open Water is Different from Pool Water

Be aware that swimming in open water has lots of challenges that are not found in pools. Currents, temperature changes, winds, waves, sea life, and other elements can make swimming in open water more unpredictable, and every swimmer should be aware of this. 

Keep an extra eye on your kids while in open water, explain to them the differences they might feel, teach them how to recognize safe swim spots, and always stay within the designated swim areas. Even strong swimmers can be challenged by the changing conditions of open water. For non-swimmers, always have them wear an approved life jacket. 

Water temperature is another factor you should consider when swimming in open water, depending on where you are swimming, water might be too cold for your body and you might need some extra layers, such as wetsuits, to avoid hypothermia. Blue lips in kids are usually a sign of the water being too cold, if you see this, take them out of the water, get some dry clothes and warm them up with a towel. 

Beware of inflatable beds and toys, these are not approved safety equipment and currents can sweep them away very easily. 


Hydration and Sun Protection

Who doesn’t love to have fun under the bright blue sky? We sure do! But even if you don’t feel it, swimming, splashing and playing in the water is very tiresome for your body and you can get quickly dehydrated. So remember, when packing for your fun outside day, always pack lots of water or other hydrating beverages. With kids, you might have to be a little persistent to get them to drink, but it is really important. 

Protecting your and your family’s skin should also be a high priority during your sunny vacations. Hats, glasses and sunscreen are a must, and if possible, UV-protected clothing. Make sure to have sun breaks throughout the day to reapply sunscreen and get a snack. 


Floaties Don’t Mean Safety

Giant floating unicorns, flamingoes, beds, chairs, noodles, boards, or water wings, are some of the most offered floaties on the market, and even though they are fun, you should be very careful with them since none of them are officially approved flotation devices and are not safety mechanisms. 

Floaties provide a false sense of security for kids (making them think they can swim) and parents (thinking their child is safe, and not paying the same amount of attention), which could have very dangerous outcomings.

A popular accessory for parents with non-swimmers are the water wings. And even though they might seem a good idea, we strongly recommend other alternatives like swim lessons or approved PFDs. Water wings do not teach children how to swim, and get them used to being in a vertical position, which is ineffective and dangerous. Also, water wings are very easy to puncture, and the smallest pinch will deflate them. 


Safe Places to Swim

As mentioned above, and especially in places you don’t know, you should always find safe places to swim, ideally with a lifeguard on duty, and no danger flags on display. 

Be aware of your surroundings and always be cautious when going in the water. Teach your kids to avoid diving or jumping in they don’t know the depth and ground conditions. 


Swim Lessons 

The best way to get your child used to the water, and teach them how to be safe in and around it, is by registering them in swim lessons. Good quality lessons, such as the ones we offer at Davina’s Swim House, will not only teach your kids how to swim, but also teach them skills such as water treading, swimming to the wall, rolling on their backs to float, all of them needed in case of a water emergency. 

Knowing that your kid can do those skills, brings peace of mind to parents. And even though it doesn’t mean you can stop watching them, and being careful, it does mean they will have more skills to solve aquatic emergencies. 


It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, DSH offers year-round lessons, so as you book your trip, think about also signing up for lessons

Enjoy the sunny holidays, have lots of fun, and remember to always be safe!