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How To Create a Water Safety Plan for Family Vacations

suv or minivan being packed for a trip

Have you created a water safety plan for your upcoming vacation?

Now that school’s out for the summer, families from all over will flock to vacation spots, water parks, pools, and beaches for fun in the sun. There’s nothing better than a good vacation, but things can turn from fun to tragic in an instant. Sadly, drowning remains the single leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 in the United States. 

Here are some ways to help your family prepare for being in and around the water during your next family vacation.

family creating water safety plan

Develop A Water Safety Plan With Your Family BEFORE Your Vacation

It’s important to be proactive when it comes to water safety. Sitting your family down to create a family water safety plan will help ensure everyone is on the same page in case of an emergency.

  1. Start by having all adults and teens review the 5 Layers of Protection
  2. We recommend having all family members sign up for swimming lessons and CPR/first aid classes before any vacation. Whether introducing or refreshing, continuous practice and proficiency can mean the difference between life and death.
  3. When booking accommodations, make sure that your accommodations have the 5 Layers of Protection in place. Use our Vacation Water Safety Checklists to help with your planning, booking, and packing! 
  4. Have all adults take a water rescue training class from a qualified instructor in case rescue or CPR is necessary.
  5. To ensure a quick response to emergencies, make sure the address and an emergency contact list are clearly displayed at the property and are easily accessible. 
  6. Identifying potential dangers and water features in and around the property you will be staying at to address any risks immediately upon arrival.
  7. Bring a printed copy of these Pool Rules Signs with you as a reminder for kids, family members, and guests that are visiting with you at your vacation spot.
  8. Children should never be left unsupervised. Choose a capable adult as the designated “water watcher” to keep a vigilant eye on kids in and around the water. Print out our Water Watcher Cards and bring these with you!   
  9. Bring portable door alarms for your hotel/AirBnB’s sliding doors and front doors to alert you of a child potentially leaving the room or house. 
  10. Bring personal alarms for little swimmers or pets! Always keep in mind that alarms should never be a replacement for capable adult supervision.
  11. Make sure everyone brings a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket in their size for all water sports, boating, and open water activities. 

Take the initiative and make water safety a priority on your next family vacation to help change the statistics for drowning. 

Reacting To A Water Emergency

In the face of a water emergency, every second counts. Reacting swiftly and confidently can save a life. Here are some things we recommend your family be well versed in and prepared for:

  1. If a loved one, especially a child, goes missing, always check the water first. If the missing person cannot be found, call 9-1-1 and enlist assistance while searching.
  2. If someone is found in the water, the first step is removing them from the water and laying them on a flat surface. 
  3. Call 9-1-1 immediately and give them the exact address for where you are located.
  4. While waiting for paramedics to arrive, provide CPR with rescue breaths to help sustain their vital functions. (You can alternate while waiting for emergency services to come, but do not stop).

Remember, being prepared and acting decisively in water emergencies can be life-saving. Stay vigilant, remain calm, and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those involved.

family safe with water safety plan

Water Safety Plan Best Practices During Your Vacation

Once you arrive at your destination, the real work begins. Before diving into the fun, set aside some time to review your water safety plan as a family. Take the first hour or so to review emergency procedures and water safety regulations. Everyone should be present and on the same page when it comes to vacation safety! Here are some best practices for you to exercise and keep at the top of your mind: 

  • Always remember that the 5 Layers of Protection are portable! Meaning you can consistently implement them to varying degrees while you’re out. 
  • Educate children on the extreme importance of water safety, and ensure that adults understand the latest statistics surrounding drowning incidents.
  • No one should ever be exploring or wandering the property alone. This is a general rule of thumb for all family members, so encourage all members of your group to use a buddy system!
  • Always exercise water safety precautions around open water and pools. There are significant variables to consider around open water, like weather and water conditions, beach flag warning systems, and staying close to lifeguard stations. 

Water safety is everyone’s responsibility, and ensuring the well-being of loved ones requires a comprehensive water safety plan. 

By involving everyone and fostering a culture of awareness, you can ensure that your family’s vacation remains an enjoyable experience for years to come!