Keeping Young Kids Safe in and Near Water

safe swimming young kids red crossAs many of you know, the Little Monkey might as well be a fish…or a mermaid! The girl loves being in water and given that her parents were each born on an island, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Her one request for our trip was to live on a beach and I am ashamed to admit that I have yet to fulfill that request. We’ve lived in a gorgeous house with a pool on route into the Sahara Desert, and we’ve stayed close to the beach in Spain and in France but not ON the beach. Not yet anyways!

You may remember that we enrolled the kids in swimming classes in Toronto last year, after which we noticed a huge improvement in Little Monkey’s swimming skills and confidence in the water. Baby Boy has entered the stage where he wants nothing to do with public swimming areas (though he still loves his baths and is eager to go back to his “Toronto pool with nobody in it”). Both kids spend plenty of time near pools and at the beach, they even spend time IN fountains!


Disclosure : This post is in partnership with Red Cross Canada and Thrifty Mom Media. I have been compensated but, as always, opinions are TOTAL ours! 

Because they enjoy the water so much, we ensure that the kids are learning water safety rules. They might be young, and we’re always VERY close by, but as they grow older, they’ll be going to pool parties and beach getaways with their friends. We know that if we teach them the right way to behave near water, we’ll be protecting them from reckless behaviour and helping them to identify dangers. This year, we’re thinking of enrolling the kids in Red Cross swimming lessons to equip them with the skills they need to stay afloat. Our neighbours have enrolled their kids in this program and are very satisfied with the results. The program has different classes for pre-schoolers and those aged 5 to 12, ensuring that everyone can learn at their own comfort level. Swimming lessons are at the top of our list of extra curricular activities. We know that they can help save our children in an emergency.


water safety with little kids



I was shocked to hear that in Canada 1 in 5 water-related fatalities are children under the age of five!! As you might expect, many of these tragedies occur during the summer months, and so the Red Cross is working hard to help you and your family stay safe this summer. They have some great resources, including this How much do you know about water safety? quiz.

We have a rooftop Jacuzzi that isn’t too hot, and so the kids love hanging out in its waters. An adult is always nearby but I will be the first to admit that on occasion I will inadvertently be on my phone for a few minutes uploading the cuteness to Instagram or whatnot. I was once doing a photo shoot with Baby Boy and he fell into the Jacuzzi! These things happen and it is one of the many reasons that I ensure that the kids wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when they go into a body of water. I’m so tempted to just let them in with a pool ring (and that does happen), but if I’m on my own, I insist that they wear their PFDs.


Tips for Choosing the Best PFD for your Child

The hubs keeps spotting kids in pools wearing swim training jackets and often points out that they won’t keep the child’s head above water in an emergency. As the Red Cross has helpfully outlined here, a proper PFD for young kids will not only have the right buckles, one of which will strap in between the legs, but will also have a headrest which will help keep a child’s head above water when they float on their own. I also like that there is a strap on the headrest for parents to easily grab in case of an emergency. We even brought these PFDs with us on our current trip. We learned our lesson in Sri Lanka when we ended up in boats with inflatable lifejackets that had holes. If you have young kids who love the water, I highly recommend that they wear a lifejacket or a PFD while they are still learning to swim. Many of us worry about sunscreen and sun protection before we head into the water but forget about the dangers of a riptide or lapse in judgement. The hubs was a lifeguard and CPR instructor growing up and I am seriously thinking of taking a First Aid Training Course in Toronto  as I tend to avoid taking the kids in the water when he isn’t around.


swimming lessons for young kids toronto

The video below gave me the chills and is another reminder that as parents we REALLY need to be ACTIVELY watching our kids. This party scenario could easily be us. The lack of a gate at the pool is a huge concern but so is not watching the small child.


The Red Cross website has plenty of great tips and resources for water safety and is a task you should definitely add to your to-do list if you need a refresher on water safety. I am a firm believer that we should be raising confident swimmers and that we should enlist the help of those in our community who can teach our kids the necessary skills if we aren’t equipped to do so.

Are your kids taking swimming lessons?