It’s vital to maintain close contact with children whenever you take them into an open water situation. The combination of glare on the water wind waves can make it impossible to see a small child even a short distance away. If there is any sort of a current it will be extremely difficult for a child to swim against it and they can easily be swept away.
One good way to help maintain contact with the child is to have them hold onto a surface float, like a boogie board, with a line attached to the float. Initially you may want to have the child lay on the float as you tow them around. However you use the float, you must have it available for the child to rest on if they become tired. There’s always the chance that you may need to use the float yourself.
As a snorkeler you should always consider your safety whenever you go out into an open water. You should prepare yourself for all the situations as well. You should know how to effectively prevent your mask from fogging up. These tips and tricks are really going to help you in your adventure.
Most children are not able to skin dive down to any substantial depth, but they will dive repeatedly underwater. Before they begin to dive down to depths in excess of four or five feet they must understand how to equalize the pressure in their ears and the consequences that will occur if they fail to clear their ears.
Children have a natural curiosity which can override the caution normally demonstrated by adults. For this reason they must be closely supervised any time they are in the water.
Although kids won’t usually tell you they’re cold, particularly if they’re having a good time in the water, children usually chill must faster than adults. It’s not uncommon for children to be shivering while they are in the water, yet still complain when ordered to get out. You must monitor your children, even in the tropics, to be sure they aren’t getting too cold.
Wetsuits are available for children and although they grow out of them quickly, the added buoyancy they provide adds a degree of safety when a child is snorkeling. It’s not usually a good idea to allow children to wear a weight belt until they demonstrate sufficient understanding and judgment for them to use one properly. Even then, children should be weighted so they are positively buoyant and float easily.
Also, make sure that children drink plenty of fluids, in both hot and cold weather. Children who are engrossed in snorkeling may not want to take the time to stop and have something to drink, so it’s up to you to make sure they keep their fluid levels high.
Children will want to know what type of fish they are watching, what it eats, and where it goes when it swims away. You can use snorkeling and diving to stimulate their education and interest in a wide variety of subjects.
Try taking a child snorkeling on a shipwreck and you’ll find it opens the doors to questions and learning about history. Give children simple underwater cameras to use and it can spark them to explore photography and biology. There is something in snorkeling and diving for almost everyone, and children will especially enjoy the experience.