Hotter weather means families need to be vigilant about water safety

May is National Water Safety Month and the start of summer for many children.

As summer gets underway, parents need to remind kids about water safety and be vigilant with young children in water. iStock / Special to On the Minds of Moms

FARGO — As the mercury rises and more schools wrap up the end of their distance learning curriculum, more and more children will want to stay cool and have fun in the water.

However, with some local pools remaining closed for the summer because of safety concerns regarding the coronavirus ( with the fate of others still up in the air ), kids may end up turning to unsupervised bodies of water for cooling off. Combine that with parents who are still busy working from home, and water safety issues become a real concern.

Each year, more than 800 children 14 and younger drown, and drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most childhood drownings happen in a home pool or in pools at the homes of friends and family, according to Stanford Children's Health research.

“People will be resorting to backyard pools, rivers and ponds rather than guarded bodies of water during this time,” said Heather Sauer, aquatics director at the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties and Family Wellness, in a news release. “We need to spread the word about what is safe and what is not safe around water.”

May is National Water Safety Month and coincides with the start of summer for many children, so parents are reminded to keep these things top of mind when it comes to kids and water.


  • Children should not swim without supervision. Teach children to ask for permission to go into any pool, even a shallow one. Small children can drown in as little as 6 inches of water, according to the YMCA news release.
  • Designate one person whose responsibility is watching kids play in the water with no distractions. Rotate that person as much as possible, but make sure cellphones or socializing do not become a distraction.
  • Wear a life jacket. Young kids and inexperienced swimmers should have a snug-fitting jacket that does not rise above the chin or ears when in water. At the start of the water season, be sure to check jackets for tears, holes or broken fasteners and replace as necessary. If jackets are usable, check the label for weight and chest size to make sure it will properly fit.
  • Only swim in designated areas. Don't swim in swamps and rapids, and never dive or jump into water where you can't see the bottom.
  • Have lifesaving equipment on hand, such as throw ropes or flotation devices, a first aid kid and a cellphone for calling for help. Adults should know CPR or at least be comfortable performing hands-only CPR (which is especially useful during a pandemic).
  • Consider other ways of having fun with water, such as sprinklers or splash pads.

“We need to be extra diligent with our water safety efforts this summer,” Sauer said.
For more information about being safe this summer around water, visit .

Danielle Teigen has a bachelor's degree in journalism and management communication as well as a master's degree in mass communication from North Dakota State University. She has worked for Forum Communications since May 2015, first as a digital content manager before becoming the Life section editor and then deputy editor. She recently moved back to her hometown in South Dakota, where she works remotely for Forum Communications as managing editor of On the Minds of Moms.
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