It's cold outside, but who says you can't take a warm winter vacation? Escaping the chilly wind this winter is high on many of our checklists. Are you planning to travel someplace warmer for a respite from the frigid temperatures? Count us in for sunny skies and a dip in the warm waters of the ocean! Winter is one time when people pack their bags and head for warmer locales. Usually, a winter vacation like this tends to include some water-related activities, like swimming in pools or the ocean, cruising on a boat out at sea or relaxing in a hot tub. Whatever your itinerary involves, it’s a good idea to keep some water safety tips in mind! Plan Ahead for a Winter Vacation Before you even leave your home, ensure that everyone has had swim lessons. If you’ll be near bodies of water, this is an essential skill to have. Establish a set of water safety rules with your children and then reiterate them once you’ve arrived at your vacation spot. This may include guidelines like how far they can venture into the water or what activities they can participate in. However, your children aren’t the only ones who need to be careful near the water. Here are some water safety tips for common vacation activities: Swimming in the Hotel Pool Swimming in a hotel pool is very similar to being in a public community pool. For one thing, you should be mindful of the germs you can catch and spread, and make sure to shower before and after your swim. You should also make sure that someone is always actively keeping an eye on your kids. Enforce the “buddy system” to ensure that your child is never swimming alone. However, when all is said and done, there is one big difference between hotel pools and your local public pool. Usually, hotel pools don’t have lifeguards on duty. In case of an emergency, make sure you can spring into action by training in CPR before your trip. Sail Away If you plan to venture onto a boat or a cruise ship, be sure that everyone on board has a lifejacket. Set the rules ahead of time and make sure everyone sticks to them. For example, keep your hands inside the boat, refrain from alcohol consumption and don’t run on deck. Swimming in the Open Water There are a number of important safety tips to keep in mind when visiting the ocean. First, locate the lifeguard(s) when you arrive at the beach. However, don’t let the presence of those lifeguards make you slack on supervising, or keeping an eye on, family members who are in the water. You should also make sure that anyone who plans to go in the water knows how to avoid a riptide. To prevent getting swept away by powerful waves, swim parallel to the shore. Last, if you’re planning to surf, take a look at the guidelines we discussed in this previous post. Taking a Dip in the Hot Tub We’ve written about hot tubs in the past. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that the rules don’t still apply! Take a look at this previous blog post to see why you should never drink alcohol in the hot tub, and why you should avoid the tub’s drains. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children under five years of age should not use a hot tub. Slip-Sliding Away at the Water Park If your winter vacation involves a waterpark, you’re in for a lot of fun. That said, things can get pretty hectic at amusement parks and water parks. Make sure you have a designated meeting place in case you get separated from one another. According to the Global Association for the Attractions Industry, children under 48", non-swimmers, and weak swimmers should wear a Coast Guard approved life vest.