Water Safety Advice for Children

boy struggling in water with lady shouting for help

Our free Children’s Water Safety Advice links will provide you with educational printables, worksheets, water safety posters and some great lesson plans. There are quizzes and coloring sheets too but most of all there’s a wide variety of safety advice for all ages from pre-school to teenagers. Make sure they take the time to properly learn and understand a Water Safety Code e.g. UK’s ROSPA suggests that kids “Spot The Dangers …. Take Safety Advice …. Don’t Go Alone …. Learn How To Help.”

Not surprisingly, in the UK the majority of water related fatalities occur during hot summer months and school holidays when older children and teenagers are more likely to take risks around water and when younger children may be left unsupervised in a garden with a swimming pool or pond. It’s important that children are educated about the hazards and risks associated with bodies of water whether it’s a small shallow garden pond, a stream, a river or large deep reservoir. Whether they’re tots or teens …. make sure they memorise a Water Safety Code

Follow the RNLI’s link to their kids’ SHORETHING section for some great Beach and Sea Safety advice for children and adults (look for youth education>education resources) . The resources are neatly categorised for lower primary (age 3-7), upper primary (age 7-11), lower secondary (age 11-14) and upper secondary (age 14-18) and there’s just too much for us to list here and do them the credit they deserve. You’ll find free water safety colouring pages, printable quizzes, lesson plans, worksheets, videos, history lessons, interactive games and bucket loads more. We particularly like the beach, harbour and river ‘spot the dangers’ colouring pages, printable PDF format beach signs quiz sheets and printable Water Safety Code poster. (For UK schools the resources are helpfully categorised as KS1, KS2 or KS3).

At the Canal and River Trust website there’s great educational resources for KS1 and KS2 kids. Relating particularly to water safety around canals, rivers, ponds and lakes this site encourages kids to stay SAFE i.e. Stay Away From the Edge. There are on-line games (including Spot The Hazard), booklets and some great coloring sheets for kids to create their own water safety posters. Being a bit more advanced than us their colouring pictures are coloured on-line which is a fun and engaging way for children to learn about the ‘Stay Away From the Edge’ message. Teachers and school trip organisers will also appreciate the ‘planning a visit’ section which provides a 6-step guide to planning an outing with children near including risk assessments.

Australia’s Swim and Survive website is full of free printables and fun stuff for kids to teach them about water hazards; their water safety code is called the AQUACODE with three important rules to remember. Kids will love the quizzes and the printable cartoon style water safety posters which can be printed out and coloured in or used as worksheets, and there’s a variety of designs suitable for pre-schoolers upwards. The printables cover water safety at home, on the beach, at the pool, and near rivers, lakes and dams. Their free printable ‘Swim and Survive’ activity booklet is a 9 page PDF document with plenty of activities including word searches, colouring, code cracking and hazard recognition. There’s an Aqua Quiz Completion Certificate to fill out and print too.

The water safety resources at ROSPA are scattered around the website so you’ll need to use the search box. Alternatively look for ‘Safety Advice’ on the homepage and then choose ‘Water and Leisure Safety’ followed by ‘Water Safety’ in the left hand column. That should get you within arms reach of most the printables and advice that you’ll find useful for teaching water safety to children and teenagers. Look out for the ‘water wise quiz’ with answers, details of the Water Safety Code, guides to water safety signs and beach flags, emergency procedures, worksheets and lots of statistics. There’s also some valuable advice about taking part in watersports and activities when holidaying abroad … a time when we seem to become fearless and careless quite often!

Don’t forget about YouTube when you’re trying to teach water safety to kids and teenagers. It has hundreds (probably thousands?) of related instructional videos for KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4 that explain the dangers of being on or near water, what exactly is drowning, how to survive in many different scenarios, first aid, and more. Just as important is knowing how to help others so there are plenty of videos showing safe ways to attempt a rescue. We’re particularly fascinated by the riptide videos which throw some light on the deadly rip currents that trick people into trying to swim back to shore against the force of the rip current. These deadly currents are responsible for scores of deaths every year so it’s vital that children and adults alike can recognise them and know what to do if they find themselves being carried quickly away from shore.

Advice on the American Red Cross Water Safety pages comes in a straightforward manner which immediately gets to the root of staying safe in swimming pools, the sea, creeks, lakes, etc. There’s a strong emphasis on preventing unsupervised access or ensuring constant supervision, and there’s a number of freebies to help with lesson plans. Look out for free printables too, like water safety posters with emergency procedures and infographics, plus quizzes. Some example headings from their Water Safety Resource Center include ‘Drowning Prevention & Facts’, ‘Home Pool & Hot Tub Safety’, ‘Swimming Safely in Lakes, Rivers & Streams’ and ‘Life Jacket Safety Saves Lives’.