The Number One Water Safety Rule

Published: May 12, 2022

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Any time children are going to be near water, there are rules involved—wear sunscreen, walk/don’t run, no pushing, etc. But here at the Y, there’s one rule that outweighs all the others: Never get in the water without an adult’s permission.

Teaching children this rule from a young age helps keep them safe by always alerting you when they intend to wade, swim or even take a bath! We know children can be impulsive so this is a rule that needs to be repeated time and time again. Just as you might repeat to a child every time they’re about to cross the street, “Look both ways,” you can also repeat this water safety rule each time you’re getting into the water together: “Ask permission before you get in the water!” If you make this part of the process of swimming, it is more likely to become a habit for children.

“Children—especially young children—move so quickly, sometimes they can see a body of water, jump in and be in trouble before their caregiver even realizes the child is no longer by their side,” says Jennifer Helm, Senior Aquatics Director. “You want your child to ask for permission to go in the water with the same routine and muscle memory that you buckle your seatbelt with.”

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