Winter Water Safety Tips

Winter Water Safety Tips

Winter weather has arrived in most parts of the country and that means frigid temperatures, snow storms and icy roads, among other cold weather hazards. Whether ice skating on a frozen lake or pond, sledding, snowmobiling and tubing, or traveling to resorts, hotels, vacation homes etc., it’s important to be prepared for the elements and always keep water safety top of mind.

Here are five tips to help ensure kids are staying safe from cold weather hazards this winter:

  1. Stay off of unfamiliar ice. It’s hard to gauge ice conditions by appearance alone. Many different factors influence the strength of ice, so it’s best to avoid ice that you’re not familiar with.
  2. Have an emergency plan. Be sure to create a thoughtful plan anytime your kids head out to play in winter weather. Address what you and your kids will do in certain situations and make sure everyone understands the plan before heading out.
  3. Prioritize swim lessons, even during cold weather months. According to the NIH, guaranteeing your child knows how to swim decreases the risk of drowning by 88%. Cold water however, is more dangerous, as it can drain body heat up to 4 times faster than cold air. “Cold shock” can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure; the sudden gasp and rapid breathing alone creates a greater risk of drowning even for confident swimmers in calm waters.  Prioritize swim lessons early on and ensure that they will know what to do in the event of danger, much like what we do with our ZAC camps.
  4. Wear proper clothing for cold water and weather. Layering is the name of the game. Make sure your children are wearing layers of light, warm clothing, and a windproof, insulated jacket. Mittens, beanies, scarves, and waterproof boots are also must-haves in the cold.
  5. Never leave your child in a hot tub unattended. There are few places more popular during the winter than a hot tub. The Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) recommends turning the thermostat down to 98 degrees for kids. Remember to always monitor your child in the hot tub and ensure they stay hydrated!

Be sure to consult more informational resources on our blog and subscribe to the “Keeping Kids Safe” podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever else you get your podcasts!

December 8, 2021