Kids Around the Water


An excerpt from The Family Camping Guide

A big part of camping fun and recreation is just hanging out in and around the water. Swimming, sitting on the dock or shore, paddling, fishing or just wading along the beach can be a real source of pleasure for so many people – especially kids. Therein lays the cautionary note.

Kids are attracted to water like moths are attracted to naked lightbulbs, which is to say, they are.

  • If there’s any way you can get kids into a swim class before the camp trip, that’d be great. Swimming, so that they can be comfortable in and around the water is a very valuable life skill

  • If you don’t swim, you should really get it together and learn. Adult swim classes are easily found at local pools

  • You’ll need to supervise younger kids like crazy

  • When they’re in the water, you’ll need to keep them with a couple of strides of you, as they can slip and go under so easily

  • Never go swimming alone and, and I don’t believe I need to say this, don’t let the kids go alone

  • If the kids aren’t strong, proven swimmers, get them into a life jacket, especially while in a boat

  • DO NOT rely on inflatable toys for water safety. They do not conform to any known safety standards and can rip apart or blow out seams and valves when squeezed, even gently

  • Stay out of the water during lightning and thunderstorms

  • Learn CPR so that if something goes terrible wrong, you can step up and help. You can download a couple of apps on your phone, which are not dependent on an internet connection. CPR instruction is beyond the scope of this book. Check the Canadian Red Cross website for classes

  • Always stay within the marked swimming zone at park beaches. Beyond the buoys there may be hidden obstacles and hazards such as jagged rocks, hidden waterlogged branches or similar

  • If the beach is rocky, you might want foot protection for the kids. Aqua socks or aqua shoes may be a good idea. These may also be known as “reef boots”

  • A large number of water accidents involve alcohol. Be wary of teens in boats with friends. Assign a designated boat driver and be sure there’s no drinking going on. Impaired boat operation carries a severe penalty in all Canadian provinces.

  • Obey all posted notices, such as pollution warnings, tidal currents, river currents, underwater obstacles, swift water, lifeguard On/Off duty, “End of Supervised Area,” etc.

It sounds like a lot to keep in mind, but not every situation is fraught with each and every one of these concerns. Just be mindful of the circumstances and keep a close eye on the youngest kids and everyone will have a great time.

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