Memories made at the lake last forever. At Lake Home Info, we want those memories to be filled with laughter, fun, excitement and adventure. Whether you have a lake home or spend time at the lake, there not only tons of opportunities for fun, but there are also risks- especially when there are children present.
It only takes a moment. In the time it takes to reply to a text or apply sun screen to another child, a child can drown. To keep your children safe while having fun at the lake, every parent needs to supervise, implement safeguards, and educate their children.
With a little preparation, the whole family can enjoy their time at the lake!
When you live on a lake, it is important to supervise your children at all times, especially when they are close to the water. Also, ensure that the assigned supervisor is completely focused on the children at all times, not distracted by socializing, texting, reading, etc. Furthermore, the supervisor needs to be sober! By keeping drinking to a minimum, you will be able to react quickly if an emergency arises.
To promote water safety, you will want to enforce safeguards and set guidelines for your children.
Life Jackets: When children are near or on the water, it is best for non-swimmers and children to wear a life jacket. No, floaties or inner tubes do not suffice. You want to make sure the life jacket is certified and an approved personal floatation device. Also, make sure that the life jacket fits the child appropriately and that the jacket is secured around their chest.
Locks & Alarms: Locks and alarms can also be helpful. If you have small children, you may consider childproof handles on the door or deck latches to prevent a child from sneaking out.
Life Rings & Throw Ropes: Be prepared for emergencies make sure you have a life ring and throw rope on your boat. To prevent drowning, the life ring and throw rope can be thrown to a person in the water and provide buoyancy.
Red Hat & Whistle for Walking on Ice: During the winter, when the lake is frozen, have your child where a bright red hat so that you can see them from a distance and give them a whistle just in case they need to call for help.
These are just a few simple things you can do to promote water safety in your household. For more information, visit the Red Cross (More About Water Safety).
Even with supervision and safeguards, it is important that you also educate your children.
Set Boundaries: Teach your children boundaries – where they can play vs. where they need supervision. For example, the kids may be allowed to play on the deck, but parental supervision is required for the flight of stairs, the dock, and shoreline. Teach your kids to always ask permission before going near the water or in the lake!
Teach Water Safety: Teach your children about water safety. Kid should always have a swimming buddy (no swimming alone), always wear a life jacket when near or on the water, always jump away from the dock, never jump on another child, never engage in rough play, and never yell for the fun of it. You may even want to tell your child, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” story to stress the importance of only yelling for help when necessary.
Teach Ice Safety: Teach your children about ice safety. Kids should always ask permission before walking on the ice, always use extreme caution when on the ice, always to be mindful of springs where the ice may be thin, never go near open water, always wear warm clothing, and never go on the ice alone.
Teach Boat Safety: When possible, enroll your child in a boat safety course. In the meantime, you can teach them basic guidelines – always hold an adult’s hand when getting on or off a boat, keep hands and feet in the boat at all times, no running on the boat, and never touch the motor or propeller. Also, make sure you “kid-proof” the boat and remove any sharp objects, fishing hooks, etc.
Swimming Lessons: Make sure your children learn how to swim. You can teach them to swim at home or enroll the kids in swimming lessons. Also, teach your kids about the unique risks of water – not diving in shallow waters, underwater hazards (i.e. sharp rocks), and speed boats.
With supervision, safeguards, and education, the whole family can enjoy their time at the lake while always keeping safety top of mind.