Water Safety for Kids: What Grandparents Need to Know

Find Out About the Latest Recommendations to Keep Kids Safe in the Water

Things have changed a bit since Grandma and Grandpa used to take a dip in the old swimming hole! Even if you're a young and thoroughly modern grandparent, you may not be up to speed on water safety for kids. Here's what you need to know.

  • 01 of 07
    Two Girls in Hot Tub
    Mirek Weichsel / Getty Images

    Those bubbles are oh, so enticing! But hot tubs and spas can be dangerous for children, whose bodies can't dissipate heat as rapidly as an adult's. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children under 5 not use hot tubs. It's also important to carefully monitor the temperature of the water and limit sessions to no more than 20 minutes. More dangers lurk around the drain. Older units may need to be modified for safety.

  • 02 of 07
    Newest water safety guidelines warn about the dangers of underwater breath holding.
    Newest water safety guidelines warn about the dangers of underwater breath holding. Photo © Britvich | Dreamstime

    If you're a grandparent, you no doubt remember friendly competitions to see who could hold their breath longest under water. So why do pools have signs prohibiting underwater swimming and breath holding? It's due to a phenomenon called shallow water blackout, and anyone who supervises children around water needs to know about it. Basically, a swimmer can suffer oxygen hunger without knowing it. Bottom line: Kids need to stay on top of the water.

  • 03 of 07
    Splash parks have become favorite water installations because they present no drowning hazard.
    Splash parks have become favorite water installations because they present no drowning hazard. Photo © Susan Adcox

    Whether they are called splash parks, splash pads or spraygrounds, these water recreation devices have become highly popular because there is no danger of drowning. Unfortunately, splash parks are also very popular with a water-borne illness called cryptosporidiosis. Learn whether this pesky visitor is likely to be in residence at your local spray park and the best way to protect kids from being infected.

  • 04 of 07

    Do You Know What Drowning Looks Like?

    A child in aquatic distress looks very much like a child playing in the water.
    A child in aquatic distress looks very much like a child playing in the water. Photo © S. Adcox

    Most child drownings occur while children are being supervised. Sometimes the adult is looking right at the child and doesn't recognize that the child is drowning. That's because drowning persons seldom call out or wave their arms because instinctively they are directing all their efforts to staying above water. A drowning person may have closed eyes, glassy eyes or hair over eyes. If a grandchild in the water doesn't respond to your call, you should immediately get to them and find...MORE out if they are in distress. Learn more about how to recognize drowning.

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  • 05 of 07

    Are Swim Lessons Effective for Keeping Kids Safe?

    Swim lessons are helpful in ensuring kids' water safety, but they are no guarantee.
    Swim lessons are helpful in ensuring kids' water safety, but they are no guarantee. Photo © S. Adcox

    Swimming lessons are valuable water safety measures as long as they do not create a false sense of security. Children who have had swimming lessons can still drown. Children who swim well should still be supervised. Watching kids in the water is the job of the parent or grandparent, not the lifeguard. At pool parties, adults should work in shifts to watch the children, and watchers should not be socializing or on their phones.

  • 06 of 07

    What Is Secondary Drowning?

    Water park fun is just the ticket for a hot summer day.
    Intense water activity can result in swallowed water and the risk of secondary drowning. Photo © Susan Adcox

    Although it is very rare, children can drown after leaving the water due to submersion injuries. In what is known as dry drowning, swallowed water causes an airway to spasm and close. In what is known as secondary drowning, swallowed water can set off a chain reaction in the body, resulting in a condition known as pulmonary edema. After grandchildren have been in the water, grandparents should be alert for signs of difficulty, including difficulty breathing, coughing, sleepiness and confusion....MORE Any child who has had to be rescued from the water should be checked out thoroughly.

  • 07 of 07

    Why Should Pool and Hot Tub Drains Be Checked?

    Swimming_Barry-Gnyp.jpg
    Before you let the grandchildren use a private pool, check the safety of the drain. Photo © Barry Gnyp | Getty Images

    A relatively rare but horrifying type of child death can result from entrapment in the drain of a hot tub or swimming pool. While only a few such deaths occur in the United States each year, the deaths are easily preventable with some simple safety measures, including proper hot tub and pool drain covers. Learn about The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act and about anti-entrapment drain covers.