Mom Life, View from the chair

Keep kids safe around water…

I have been a lifeguard for 30 years, and an instructor of guards for 20. Believe me when I say, I know my stuff about water safety. So for all of you parents swimming with children, here is some advice from the lifeguard chair:

First, you know those arm floats you like to use? They are JUNK! They provide a false sense of security for you and your kid. The mechanics of drowning actually makes those floats a detriment, and hold your child’s head under water in such a situation. THROW THEM AWAY! Go on…we’ll wait…

Ok next, let’s talk about that cute little bikini you bought your daughter. No matter how much sunscreen is applied, that suit is still exposing your child to the sun. Sunscreen can (and will) wear off, even though it says it lasts up to 8 hours. Invest in a swim shirt. This is made to provide full sun protection, especially when swimming. You can get one at Walmart for around $15. Oh, and get one for your son as well. The majority of children playing in the water and sun are hunched over, which leaves their backs in direct contact with the harsh sun. Buy a hat that they can get wet too! They will have MANY years of exposure, so please protect them now.

Remember that plastic life jacket you bought at a yard sale for a buck? It is junk! Take my word for it. Throw it out now with those arm floats! Seriously, you need a type 1 Coast Guard-approved jacket. In the scary event your child passes out in the water, this is the only jacket that is designed to keep them face up.

Last but not least, it is a guard’s job to keep your child safe…NOT BABYSIT while you are chatting with your friends, or reading the latest bestseller. Chances are, you are leaving the well-being of your child in the hands of a teenager. No offense to them (or you), but think of what you were like when you were a teen. Your mind was routinely on other things, wasn’t it? How focused can you expect them to be? Not momma laser-focused, that’s for sure! What I have found, over the years, is that a great lifeguard is one with experience and age. YOU are the parent. YOU need to be responsible for your child. YOU.

Please feel free to pass this advice along. Small precautionary steps can go along way toward peace of mind and safety.

Have a wonderful…and SAFE…summer!


  1. As a baby and toddler swimming teacher I totally agree. I hate armbands. Children need to learn how to stay afloat and not rely on flotation devices. All activities are voluntary in house except swimming lessons they are mandatory for my kids #coolmumclub

    1. beachchairtracy

      It is so important! I worked at a prep school and in order to graduate all students needed to pass a basic swim test. If they could not lessons were provided for free. We had kids from all over the world. I think it is a GREAT requirement.

  2. MMT

    So much respect for this post! I was recently told a story by a friend who’s friends daughter drowned on holiday – her teenage son had been watching her and as you say, they are not adults. Fortunately the child was resuscitated but it was certainly a wake up call hearing that story. Water danger can happen so quickly…
    Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub, and so glad I persevered with swimming lessons

  3. This is such an important subject which goes well with my post on children and swimming #thatfridaylinky@_karendennis

  4. I am nearing obsessed with swim safety. Probably because we have a pool at our house in Italy and I am alone with the kids there for half of the summer. Everyone leaves the pool deck if anyone needs a wee and nobody is allowed to even lean over the pool unless I’m there. And when we go to the beach? I barely blink the whole time. (Yes, what a relaxing experience for me!) #thatfridaylinky

  5. My mummy watches me like a hawk around water, lots of swimming lessons, learning to float and knowing the signs of secondary drowning helps to ease my mummy’s mind. But she’s always worried x #ThatFridayLinky

  6. Great advice which I will be passing on to my friend. #thesatsesh

  7. Great post. I will be pinning this for later. thanks #thesatsesh

  8. Great advice here. I always use to worry about my children around water when they were small. #PoCoLo

  9. There is some really sound advice here, learning how to swim is so important. Learning how to swim properly is even more important! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  10. Oh yes, people don’t realise just how quickly tragedy can happen by the water, and sunburn is awful too.

  11. Some very big and important wake-up calls in this post based on real experience – I learned from it #FamilyFun

  12. #thesatsesh I do worry about some of the chemicals in lotions, I realise they are necessary but think there should be more awareness about the chemical combinations. Lots to think about in this post 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  13. I can never rely on those plasticy floats and like you say, we are responsible for our own kids when it comes to their safety! I’m definitely getting the little one some swimming lessons! #FamilyFunLinky

  14. Zvonimir

    kids will always be kids they don’t know any better or have experience, you need to watch them.

  15. Terry

    So true

  16. Marko Mali

    useful tips, thanks

  17. Jack

    live near sea , so i see it all during summer

  18. Jamall

    Most of vacation spent in constant worry and lookout for kids 🙁

  19. Demian Thorn

    Yeah , best to tech them to swim at young age

  20. Great advice. I watch my two like a hawk whenever we are near water and those swim shirts are amazing.
    Thank you for joining the #FamilyFunLinky x

  21. Margaret Gallagher

    So important to stress / teach water skills to all – WILL save lives

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