Swim Blog


A Parent's Guide to 4th of July Water Safety

June 21, 2024

Hey there, fellow parents! I can practically smell the hamburgers on the grill and hear the kids squealing with excitement as we gear up for another epic 4th of July. It’s a day filled with laughter, fireworks, and unforgettable memories. But as a parent, I know there’s a little voice in the back of my head that never quite goes away during these festive gatherings: the worry about water safety.


Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue with a sparkling pool, spending a sun-soaked day at the beach, or just enjoying a family picnic by a lazy river, water is often a central part of the celebration. While it brings endless fun and refreshment, it’s crucial to remember that water can pose a serious risk to our little ones. Especially amidst the excitement and distractions of holidays, it’s easy for curious kids to wander off and find themselves in potentially dangerous situations.


Now, before you start picturing me as the fun police, let me assure you, I’m all for summertime fun! But over the years, as my own child grew up splashing and swimming, I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping them safe around water. And trust me, a little preparation and awareness can make all the difference in ensuring a worry-free holiday.

Where Danger Lurks: Identifying Common Water Hazards

So, let’s dive into the potential trouble spots:

  • Backyard Pools: If your 4th of July plans include a dip in the backyard pool, it’s crucial to make sure it’s a safe zone. Ensure the pool is surrounded by a secure fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate to prevent unsupervised access. A pool alarm can provide an extra layer of protection. Remember, it’s not just about preventing accidental falls; even shallow water can be dangerous for young children.
  • Beaches & Lakes: Ah, the allure of open water! While it’s tempting to let kids explore, remember that lakes and oceans can be unpredictable. Strong currents, sudden drop-offs, and even unexpected marine life can pose hazards. Designate a specific swimming area, establish clear boundaries, and keep a watchful eye on your little swimmers.
  • Boating Adventures: If your celebrations involve boating, make sure everyone on board, regardless of swimming ability, wears a properly fitted life jacket. Check the weather forecast before heading out, and always have a designated sober skipper. It’s also a good idea to pack a first-aid kit and a communication device in case of emergencies.
  • Hidden Hazards: You might be surprised by the unexpected water sources that pop up during holiday gatherings. Think coolers filled with ice and drinks, inflatable pools, buckets of water for games, and even decorative fountains. These seemingly harmless items can be dangerous for toddlers who might fall in or try to climb them. Be vigilant and empty or secure any potential water hazards when not in use.

Staying Safe: Practical Tips for Worry-Free Water Fun

Keeping our kids safe doesn’t have to mean sacrificing fun. Here are some tried-and-true tips that have helped me navigate countless pool parties, beach days, and lake outings:

  • Designated Water Watcher: This is a lifesaver, literally! Designate a responsible adult to be the official “water watcher” whenever children are in or near the water. Their sole focus is on supervising the kids, free from distractions like phones, conversations, or (ahem) adult beverages. Switch off every 15-20 minutes so everyone gets a break.
  • Life Vests: The Ultimate Swim Buddy: If your child isn’t a strong swimmer, a life vest is an absolute must. Invest in a Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits snugly and comfortably. Inflatable toys and floaties are not substitutes for proper life vests.
  • Swim Lessons: A Gift of Confidence and Skill: Enrolling your child in swim lessons is one of the most impactful ways to ensure their safety around water. Even babies as young as six months can start learning essential water safety skills and building confidence in a safe, supportive environment. Swim lessons empower children with the knowledge and ability to navigate aquatic situations with composure and skill.
  • CPR: Be Prepared for the Unexpected: Knowing CPR can make all the difference in a water emergency. Consider taking a CPR course with your partner or caregiver so you’re both equipped with this life saving skill.
  • Ditch the Distractions: When you’re supervising kids around water, it’s crucial to be fully present. Put your phone away, resist the urge to multitask, and keep your eyes glued to the water. It only takes a split second for an accident to happen.
  • Teach Water Safety Rules: Explain to your kids why it’s important to follow the rules. No running on slippery pool decks, no diving in shallow ends, no swimming alone—these rules are in place to keep everyone safe.

Why Swim Lessons Make Waves: Beyond Water Safety

I know, I know, I’ve mentioned swim lessons a few times already. But there’s a reason for that! Swim lessons are about so much more than just preventing accidents. They build water confidence, instill essential survival skills (like floating and treading water), and provide a structured learning environment with ongoing practice and reinforcement.


Imagine your child confidently navigating a pool, laughing and playing with friends, knowing they have the skills to stay safe. That peace of mind is priceless, right? And the earlier you start swim lessons, the better equipped your child will be to enjoy a lifetime of water fun.

Making a Splash: Water Safety with a Side of Fun

Water safety doesn’t have to be all about lectures and life vests. Make it a fun and engaging experience for your kids! Play water games together, teach them to respect the water and its creatures, and show them how much joy swimming can bring. By modeling safe water practices and creating positive associations with swimming, you’ll set them up for a lifetime of aquatic adventures.


This 4th of July, let’s make a pact to prioritize water safety. By taking a few simple precautions, educating our children, and embracing the power of swim lessons, we can ensure a holiday filled with laughter, memories, and most importantly, safety.

If you’re looking to sign your kids up for swim lessons, or even take the plunge yourself, contact us at The Swim Advantage in Orland Park. We’re here to help you and your family make a splash safely!