Participating in watersports is a fun and thrilling way to spend the summer. They make for great outdoor activities as kids can easily spend hours doing the ones they like the most, from water skiing to water polo. Which watersport a child can participate in will depend on their age, but no matter what it is of the upmost importance that each kid practices certain safety measures while taking part in the activities. For that reason, we have created a list of 10 important safety tips to always keep in mind when doing a watersport. They are a combination of safety tips for both parents and children.
- Be a strong swimmer
This for everyone involved. Parents and participating children need to be strong and confident in the water before participating in watersports. This is because while playing, the mind will be focused on other things besides swimming. Therefore, swimming needs to be natural and easy.
Parents should also know how to swim well in case an emergency arises. If you do not know how to swim, or aren’t completely confident in your abilities, make sure there is someone else around who is, such as a lifeguard.
- Use the right gear
Different outdoor watersports require different gear, more than just a suit. It’s important that this gear fits the kids using it correctly in order to be safe. For example, using the right size wakeboard or surfboard for that particular child’s age, weight, height, and experience. If this is not taken seriously, grave injuries can occur.
The right gear makes things more comfortable for everyone involved. Also, if the rules are to wear gear such as a lifejacket, don’t let the child get away without wearing one because they are a strong swimmer. The rule is in place for a reason.
Kids need to be supervised at all times when in the water. Whether it is you as the parent or if it is by a trained lifeguard, no child should be left alone when in the water. When supervising it is important to be constantly vigilant of what is going on at all times to help prevent accidents.
- Be aware of the weather and water conditions
Weather has a great effect on bodies of water. For that reason, knowing the weather before the outing and what weather is to be expected during the outing is necessary. Also, you will need to note the specific water conditions of where the child will be. Is it low tide or high tide? Will wind have made the water extra choppy? How strong is the current? These are the types of questions you need to know the answers to in order to make informed decisions about kid safety during watersports.
- Stay hydrated
Kids don’t realize their thirst and lack of hydration when they are surrounded by and in water even if that water is not drinkable. It’s very easy for them to become dehydrated as they are exerting a lot of energy during their watersport play. It will therefore fall to you to make sure they are drinking enough water as they normally would as if they were playing a game of soccer or the likes.
- Wear sunscreen
Just as it is important to stay hydrated when in water outdoors, it is equally important to have some protection from the sun. Many people believe that since they are in the water, the sun is not hitting them. The reality is quite different.
There are countless brand and types of sunscreen, so choosing one can be a hard decision. Try to find one that is water resistant or water proof. Even so, you should still apply the sunscreen to the child every few hours to ensure that there will be coverage. Make sure it is at least SPF 20.
- Know CPR
Hand in hand with supervising is knowing what to do in case an emergency arises. Taking a CPR class is a great way to be prepared. It is also useful to always have a first-aid kit on hand. If you don’t know CPR, then make sure that someone in the vicinity of where the watersport is taking place does.
- Be aware of surroundings
Teach kids to be aware of their surroundings while in or near the water. Showing them what makes for safe and unsafe conditions will help them to be safe themselves. Also make sure that each kid is aware of his or her own abilities in the water. Although these things are easily forgotten, any taught input will help.
- Warn about horseplay
Kids like to mess around and sometimes can get rather physical. It’s easy to write this type of behavior off as typically childish, but when around the water there are extra precautions to be taken. As a general rule, there should be no rough or horseplay to take place at all. This is one tip that you should be extra strict about.
- Emphasize following rules
Speaking about being strict, going over all rules and safety tips with children is an excellent idea. Remember that children need repetition for things to be remembered and understood, so don’t think that just telling them once will do the trick. You can have a “meeting” where the kids brainstorm safety measures and write them down on a poster. This will help them to sink in.
When partaking in an activity where there is an instructor involved, children need to follow the rules of that person to ensure their safety. Sit and talk with your child and explain to them how important it is to do so.
Watersport safety outdoors is a topic that is not to be taken lightly. The water is just as dangerous as it is fun. Children need to be aware of the dangers but not to the point where they are scared. When everyone is safe and comfortable is when everyone will be truly happy!