Water Safety for Kids

No matter where you go on Orcas Island, you’re not far from the beautiful waters of the Salish Sea. Keep your family safe by following these water safety tips.

Pools, lakes, ponds, and beaches mean summer fun and cool relief from hot weather. But water also can be dangerous for kids if you don’t take the proper precautions. It is the second leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages of 5 and 24. The good news is there are many ways to keep your kids safe in the water and make sure that they take the right precautions when they’re on their own.


Making kids Water Wise

It is important to note that kids should never swim alone. Using the buddy system means there’s always someone looking out for you. Make sure your kids understand that swimming in a pool is different from swimming in a lake or the ocean — there are different hazards for each.

At the lake or pond
  • Swim with adult supervision or using the buddy system. Lakes or ponds may be shallow near the bank and then increase in depth sharply further out from shore.
  • Ponds and lakes may hide jagged rocks, broken glass, or trash.
  • Make sure kids wear foot protection; even in the water, they should wear aqua socks or water shoes.
  • Watch out for weeds and grass that could entangle a leg or arm.
  • When boating, be sure you and everyone on board are wearing their life jackets.
At the beach

Here on Orcas Island, there are no lifeguards at our beaches. That makes it all the more important to use the buddy system. Unlike the calm waters of a swimming pool, the beach has special dangers like currents and tides.

  • Don’t allow kids to swim in large waves or undertows, and tell them never to stand with their back to the water because a sudden wave can easily knock them over.
  • Teach kids that if they’re caught in a rip current or undertow, they should swim parallel to the shore or should tread water and call for a person’s help.
  • Whether at the lake or at the beach, teach your child to get out of the water during bad weather, especially lightning.
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