By: Sarah Garcia; Counselor
The Fourth of July was a dangerous day after several pool injuries and fatalities across Central Indiana. It's summer, and it’s hot and we know there is no better way to cool down than swimming. Families First wants everyone to have fun, but most importantly be safe!
Playing in water provides a lot of benefits to children. Here are some of the benefits of water play and what caregivers can do to ensure the safety of everyone in the water.
Playing in the water is beneficial for children physically and socially. Children can experiment with moving their bodies in the water without fear of falling on a hard surface. While exploring all the ways they can move they are building muscle strength and improving coordination. Because water play often occurs in a contained space, children have to work on communicating with others and sharing water toys. It’s an opportunity to explore new concepts like seeing what sinks and floats in the water.
Keeping The Fun, Fun!
In order to keep the fun fun, parents and caregivers should ensure everyone’s safety in the water:
• Children should wear appropriate, preferably Coast Guard approved, flotation devices, especially in pools, lakes and at the beach
• Caregivers should be trained in CPR
• Establish rules like no running around pools or pushing others underwater
• ALWAYS supervise children in water, whether or not they are wearing flotation devices or have had swimming lessons
Playing outdoors has endless benefits and all children should have ample time outside every day! Children can improve motor and social skills, increase attention spans, boost their ability to learn and improve mood just by playing and exploring outdoors. While the sun provides their little bodies with vital Vitamin D they also need protection from too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays to prevent sunburns and avoid skin cancer.
• If children are playing in direct sunlight it’s important they wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and that it is reapplied often.
• Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months old so avoid having them in direct sunlight for more than 10 minutes at a time or use appropriate shade protection such as hats or umbrellas.
• With water play consider having children wear long-sleeve rash guards that will block the sun’s rays.
• If you are concerned about ingredients in sunscreen consider brands with very basic ingredients and no fragrances.
• Make sure children drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while enjoying the sunshine!
Whether you’re cooling off in the pool or warming up in the sunshine, remember these tips to keep everyone safe and having fun!