Weather and Water—Swimming Safety Tips

Since the Red Cross began working to teach water safety skills almost a hundred years ago, drowning deaths have dropped dramatically. Teaching your child to swim is one way to help keep him safe. These tips will also help keep your kids safe in the water.

Swimming Safety Tips for Weather and for Open Water

Going swimming takes us out of our element, literally. To keep your kids and yourself safe when you’re swimming, keep these safety tips in mind.


  • Know weather conditions and forecasts before you go swimming.
  • Don’t go into the water—including the shower at the pool—during a thunderstorm. Go inside. Wait fifteen minutes after the thunder stops before going back into the water.
  • Don’t go into the water in heavy rain or hail, during a tornado warning, or during high wind. High wind can make it harder to see—because of waves in the ocean—and can increase the risk of hypothermia even in a swimming pool.
  • Stay out of the water if fog is dense enough to interfere with visibility.

Open water

If you’re going to swim in open water, be prepared and educate yourself.

Swim where there’s a lifeguard on duty. The US Lifesaving Association reports that you’re five times more likely to drown at a beach without a lifeguard.

Don’t float (using a flotation device) where you can’t swim. The exceptions to this are in a lifejacket in an emergency situation and when your child is wearing one in a pool while you supervise.

If you’re going to swim in the ocean, educate yourself. Know the ocean, especially rip tides. Don’t fight the current. If you get caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to it until you reach its edge, then turn toward shore. Know and obey beach warning flags.

Use a US Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating, no matter what. Being a good swimmer is critical in a disaster, but it may not be enough to keep you safe in rough conditions, over long periods of time, or if you lose consciousness.

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