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Keeping Kids Safe in the Water

Summer travel means lots of time spent by beaches and pools, so brush up on your water safety knowledge with these ten tips.

1. Supervise constantly. Never let your guard down when your kids are around water, thatís the time accidents are most likely to occur. To ease guard duty, switch off with a partner; one adult can read or relax while the other keeps watch.

2. Donít depend on flotation devices. Many pools and public beaches donít even allow them, citing parentsí false sense of security when children are wearing them. Donít depend on a life jacket or swim ring to keep your child safe. Do consider using a life jacket on toddlers though since theyíre so prone to falling over (the loop on the back also makes it easier for you to hold them upright).

3. Bring goggles for sensitive eyes. Chlorine in the pool can irritate kidsí eyes; a fun pair of goggles can solve the problem quickly. Be sure to buy a quality brand, the cheap ones are prone to leaking.

4. Teach your kids to swim. This is a great way to pass the time on a beach vacation and will give your kids an additional safety edge in the water (youíll still need to supervise them, of course).

5. Use water shoes in rocky areas. Look for a pair with decent tread, theyíll help prevent falls and protect kidsí feet against sharp stones.

6. Cover-up. Put a hat and sunglasses on wading toddlers. Encourage all kids to take frequent breaks from the water to sit in the shade or dig in the sand (wearing a cover-up and hat of course).

7. Teach kids to stay together. Even teenagers should know that itís dangerous to swim alone, no matter how good a swimmer they are. Teach your kids to look out for each other (this obviously doesnít replace a parent watching).

8. Talk about riptides. Your kids should know how to deal with one should they ever get caught. Tell them to swim parallel to the shore instead of fighting the current. Be sure they know how to tread water and float on their back until help arrives.

9. Watch out for swimmerís ear. If your child is prone to it, try over-the-counter swimmerís ears drops after they swim. Be sure to dry kidsí ears thoroughly after swimming.

10. Use the right diapers. Donít use regular diapers at the beach or pool, even if you think your toddler wonít go in the water. They expand like nobodyís business and eventually explode all over the place. Specially designed swim diapers are the way to go; you can even find non-disposable versions now.

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