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Water Safety with Kids

Kids jumping in a lake off a dock together.

On this week's podcast episode, we discussed water safety. With summer approaching, we wanted to make sure you feel confident heading out in the water with your littles. We compiled all the important information into an easy-to-read blog. Here is a recap of our podcast on Water Safety, with guest speaker Kaylee Kennedy.


Tips for Water Safety with Kids

We all want to be present with our children, right? That’s what is so beautiful about swimming—there’s no place where you could be more present. You need to be exactly where you are! Talking to Kaylee Kennedy, the founder of many swim schools, not only inspired us to get in the water with our children but also taught us the best safety measures to take and methods to teach to foster a love for the water. 

Kaylee Kennedy, taught her oldest son to swim as a baby, and it bonded them in such a strong way. It inspired Kaylee to open up Saskatoon Swim School in the Fall of 2014 when her son was just a year old. Her overall philosophy of teaching beginners to swim is to do so as effectively and safely as possible. But it did not end there. In came K&K Swim School throughout Canada. Then, with the pandemic, came a whole new vision - teaching babies and toddlers to swim in their own bathtubs at home -  watermellow (previously, KKOnlineSwim) was born. Keep reading to learn more about water safety with kids.

Start Swimming with Kids

  1. Can start as young as 3-weeks-old 

  2. The younger, the better!

  3. Can start in the bathtub 

  4. Can also learn in a hot tub that is set to 90-91 degrees

  5. Kids should be swimming once a week, or at least twice a month, so their bodies don't forget 

Tip: Bring goggles for anywhere with a hot tub or a big bathtub! 

Teaching Water as a Caregiver

Two kids splashing and playing in the water.

  1. A large part is going underwater with your kids and having fun!

  2. If you're not a confident swimmer, a swim school should teach you with your child

  3. Once you want your child to learn technique, they can join swim lessons

  4. Get in the water with them and hold them by their underarms and be their flotation device! The lighter your fingers, the more independence they have!Tip: Wear a T-shirt in the water -- it allows your child can grab onto you

Typical Swim Groups

  1. Synchro

  2. Diving

  3. Water Polo

  4. Swim Team

Why We Are Not Fans of Self-Rescue Lessons

A swim instructor works with a young girl in the pool.

  1. Some methods of self-rescue can include listening to the child’s input

  2. Lots of aggressive forms of teaching self-rescue don’t stay attuned to the child’s feelings and progression

  3. The word “rescue” alone brings fear to the water – a child should never have to rescue or save themselves in the water – if a child feels like they are going to die, that’s a very traumatic experience (and then imagine that trauma over and over and over again)

  4. The mindset doesn’t match the intention; instead focus on learning to breathe, have fun, and swim, so children can become independent in the water

Let's Talk Water Safety

  1. Always, always, always, make sure the child is at arm’s reach from an adult <100% supervision>

  2. Teach children to respect the strength of water by teaching them submerging, breath control, and calm controlled movements in the water

  3. Kids learn by submerging again and again and again

  4. The danger comes when kids don’t know what water is capable of, so exposure is key!

  5. Have a gate around pools and an alarm at the back door (and no doggy door) – remember non-swim times are the largest concern, so we need to teach our kids that they do not go in the water without us

  6. When you go to a place with water, make going in the water the first thing you do, and watch what your kids do, so they learn boundaries 

PFD's, Lifejackets, and Puddle Jumpers

A young boy, wearing a life jacket, paddles around a lake on a stand-up paddle board.

  1. These products should never be used as a replacement for parental supervision

  2. They are meant to be used if you were to fall off a boat and be knocked unconscious

  3. Kids should not “learn to swim” in these; they don't allow them to submerge and don’t allow them to be in a horizontal position

  4. It’s not a great idea to wear them outside of the pool either, because it gives a false sense of security

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