Summer is still in full swing for many families across the United States, meaning many people are still vacationing and spending time relaxing by the pool. And since it's the end of the season, some people might feel comfortable letting their guard down, forgetting how easily accidents can happen. The good news? There is plenty of info out there about how to keep your family safe, including this Scout's list of water safety tips for kids. It's a must-read list for any child, regardless of the season.
Back in June, the Associated Press reported how quick thinking scouts saved two fishermen after their canoe capsized in New Hampshire. The brothers, Larry and Michael Fiori, found themselves shivering for over an hour and treading water in a remote lake where the temperature was just 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10-degree Celsius). Fortunately, some Scouts were camping nearby, and they managed to find Larry after his brother Michael swam to shore. The scouts warmed both brothers with hot stones and alerted a ranger who went to seek medical personnel, according to Maine Public.
“If it wasn’t for the Scouts, I don’t think either one of us would have survived,” Michael said at the time, according the Concord Monitor.
Clearly, the Scouts BSA knows a thing or two about water safety, and there's a good chance you might find Romper's conversation with one experienced scout helpful if your kids love water-based activities.
So, what's the best way for your kiddo to stay safe this summer and beyond? Luke Turnak of Hingham Troop 4 from Hingham, Massachusetts believes that the buddy system is the most important water safety tip a person should follow. In an email interview with Romper, Turnak explains:
The most useful safety tip I learned as a Scout is always have a buddy. It is actually an important safety tip across Scouting, whether we are hiking, camping, biking, or just walking around. That way, if you get in trouble, you always have someone to help you, whether it is relying on your buddy for help or in bad situation having your buddy get help.
Turnak also notes that it's vitally important to pick water activities for kids that are within their skill set, explaining to Romper:
In Scouting when we are at camp, we are divided into swimming groups - non-swimmers, beginners, and swimmers. This is good because the activities that we are allowed to do are equal to our abilities and what we comfortable with. Also, it prevents us from doing things where we can get in trouble and into unsafe situations.
He added, "So, I would say one important piece of advice is know your abilities and participate in water sports and activities that you are comfortable with or you have the skills for. Basically, don't get in over your head!"
Of course, everyone wants to have fun on the water. But safety is the most important element of having fun, particularly if you have a kid who might be a little afraid of the water. Turnak recommends starting out in the shallow end and gradually working your way to deeper water if you're nervous, as well as swimming lessons with a friend that will "help make the water less scary."
In addition to Turnak's tips, the Scouts BSA advises families to follow this list of life-saving tips:
- Wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jacket
- Make sure every person on the boat can swim at least 75 yards in water that is over their head, the switch to an easy, resting backstroke
- Use the buddy system; everyone on the boat should have a designated buddy who is responsible for sounding the alarm if there are any safety issues or emergencies
A little planning can go a long way to keeping kids safe this summer, and luckily for families out there, Scouts BSA has already figured out exactly what steps parents need to take before hitting the water.