Best 3 Ways to Promote Infant Water Safety
When it comes to beating the summer heat, the first thing that comes to mind is water play. Whether it’s filling a kiddie pool on your deck, visiting the beach, or setting up the sprinkler, there are numerous ways for kids to cool down when the thermostat outside is climbing. But if you're the mother to an infant, you might be stumped for water play ideas for your little one. Here are some great ways your baby can participate in water play this summer and do it safely.
1. Visit a Splash Pad
Splash pads are popping up everywhere and for good reason. They're the perfect way for kids to cool off without needing to know how to swim. Most pads have a soft, rubberized floor which is perfect for your baby's sensitive feet. If you want to be extra careful, purchase them a pair of water shoes. There aquatic playgrounds offer different types of hoses, sprayers, and fountains that dispense water in different ways. The gentler sprinklers are best for little ones because the water pressure is low. Babies can explore as much or as little as they want in this type of setting. As your child gets older and becomes mobile, they can use the fun water guns and other water features designed for older children. Just be sure to never leave your baby unattended and be aware of your surroundings. Depending on the time of day and week, splash pads can get pretty crowded with older kids running around. They're not always conscious of smaller children playing nearby so be sure to keep your baby protected and close by.
2. Hit the Beach
The beach isn't just for kids who can swim. Your baby will love the feeling of sand between their toes and the cool beach water on their feet and legs. There are several safety precautions to take when it comes time to bring your infant to the beach. The first is sun protection. Your little ones skin is extremely sensitive and should be kept out of the direct sun whenever possible. When your baby is enjoying some time in the water, be sure they are wearing plenty of sunscreen, a hat that covers the sensitive skin on their face, and even a bathing suit or swim shirt that offers additional UVA and UVB protection. It’s also a good idea to bring along an umbrella or small tent for additional shade. When it comes to swimming in the ocean, or any large body of water, it’s important that you hold your infant at all times and they are also wearing some type of lifejacket or flotation device. Be aware of ripe tides, changes in current, and waves. Your safest bet is to stay near the shore, where the waves are minimal and your baby can safely experience the ocean water without being fully submerged.
3. Water Play
Water play is not only a great way for your infant to cool off, it’s also an awesome sensory experience and can be done anywhere! If you have a few cups, sponges, paintbrushes, and toys at home, your baby can have hours of fun just splashing about, getting themselves wet, and “painting”. Let your infant dip a paintbrush and wet the ground, walkway, or concrete walls. Use a sponge to absorb water and let your baby squeeze it out onto their legs and hands. They’ll love the sensation and will be strengthening their fine motor skills at the same time. Purchase some floating rubber toys that double as squirters. Start with just a few toys to avoid over stimulating your baby. And if you choose to fill any type of bucket or container, never leave your child unsupervised. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water and should never be left unattended near any type of water.
Children of all ages benefit from time spent in water, especially when it comes to beating the summer heat. Just be sure to choose age-appropriate activities for your little one, keep them protected from the sun, and always supervise water play.
I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.
I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience.
When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.
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