Winter Swimming Safety Tips

Swimming is a great way to burn off energy and stay in shape over the winter. And no, despite what our moms told us, you can’t catch a cold from wet hair. According to Sara Batchelor, COO of Pro Swim Academy in Elk Grove Village, “Often times parents think if a child is cold or has wet hair during the winter months it causes them to get sick. In fact the cold does not make a child sick, viruses and bacteria do. Swimming in a warm water pool throughout the winter can even help boost one’s immune system. Research shows that exercise, like swimming, can boost your bacteria fighting abilities.”


Don’t forget that most kids haven’t swimming since summertime lessons, so here are some tips from Sue Mackie, Executive Director of the US Swim School Association (USSSA) to keep your children safe in the pool.


Winter Water Safety Tips


  • Create a verbal cue that must be given by an adult before any kids can enter the pool.
  • Gather the adults of your extended family if cousins and relatives are swimming together and create an agreed upon set of pool rules before the kids are allowed into the water.
  • Select a parent to be the designated “water watcher”. This adult should not be drinking alcohol while children are in or near water.
  • Take time to familiarize your children with the pool they will be swimming in, i.e. where the shallow and deep ends are, where stairs to get in and out are located, where they can and cannot swim.
  • If visiting a hotel with an indoor waterpark, do not rely on lifeguards to constantly monitor your children. You cannot be sure how experienced a lifeguard is and should never assume. It might take a new guard time to notice an unsafe situation in a crowded pool and you need to be ready to react first if your child needs help.
  • Do not use water wings or pool floats as a substitution for supervision if your child is not a strong swimmer.
  • Cold weather destinations are not a guarantee of safety. Children still need to be watched around water that appears frozen and should not be allowed to walk on frozen ponds, lakes, creeks or other bodies of water because it could easily crack and trap a child under the ice.
  • Always go with children to the hotel pool. Do not let them swim unsupervised. Just because you are on vacation does not mean you are on vacation from being a responsible parent.

USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country. For more information on USSSA, visit