Stay in touch. When in or near the water, younger children should be under “touch supervision”—or within an arm’s length of a grown-up—at all times.
Get lessons. Formal swimming instruction may lower the risk of drowning for children ages 1 to 4. (But remember: It will not make them “drown proof.”)
Hold the beer. Adults should refrain from drinking alcohol when supervising little ones in or near the water. Likewise, adolescents should be warned of the dangers of swimming or boating when under the influence of alcohol, drugs or prescription meds.
Stay focused. No talking on the phone, texting or turning your back for even a second as long as you’re supervising a child around water.
Wear a jacket. Children (and grown-ups, for that matter) should wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) at all times when boating. The jacket should fit snugly and always be properly secured. Kids under age five, particularly those who can’t swim, should have a flotation collar to keep their head upright and their face out of the water.
Repeat the rules. Constantly remind your kid about water safety and insist that he never swim alone or during a lightning storm, dive in water that hasn’t been checked for depth and underwater hazards, or push others beneath the surface.