According to the American Red Cross, swimming is the most popular summer activity in the United States. Drowning is also the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children between 1- and 4-years-old.
Children are inexperienced swimmers, and parents need to be extra-vigilant both in and out of the water to ensure their kids’ safety. If you are planning to visit a pool, lake, or beach with your children this summer, take a moment review these safety tips.
Practice Active Supervision
Children should be supervised in and around any open bodies of water. If your child is an infant or toddler, make sure they remain within arm’s reach even when not in the water.
Avoid distractions when supervising children near water. This means put away your books, tablets, cell phone, headphones, and any other extra-cranial devices. If our child is near the water, then their safety should be the only thing on your mind.
If a child is missing, check the water first. Drowning is likely to greatest threat to your child when near a body of water, and seconds can make a difference in preventing death or disability.
Do not trust your child’s life to another child. Young children should only be near water if they are attended by a responsible adult at all times.
Establish Safe Swimming Rules
Teach your children to always ask permission before going near water. This way, you will always know when you need to be on alert.
Make sure your children understand the dangers of drains and suction outlets. Hair, jewelry, and bathing suits can get caught in drains and outlets, creating a serious drowning hazard.
Teach your child to only swim in lifeguard supervised areas.
Teach your children to practice the buddy system. Even in areas supervised by a lifeguard, having a swimming buddy is like having an extra pair of eyes on your child.
Prevent Unsupervised Access to Water
Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms can add an additional layer of protection.
Ensure the barriers are at least 4-feet high and have self-closing, self-latching gates that open away from the pool.
If your pool is above ground, remove the access ladders and secure the safety cover when the pool is not in use.
Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool. Toys can attract young children to the pool.
Learning CPR should be a top priority for all parents. Taking occasional refresher courses is also recommended.
CPR training is often offered by local hospitals, fire departments, and recreation departments.
Have your children learn CPR as well. It is a skill that will continue to serve them later in life.
Know What to Do in the Event of an Emergency
If you own a home pool or hot tub, purchase the appropriate equipment such as emergency floatation devices, life jackets, throwing ropes, and first aid kits.
If you are at a public pool, be sure you know where emergency equipment is prior to going near the water with your child.
Know how to contact 9-1-1 or emergency responders in the event of an injury or emergency.