Summer is the time to be near water. What better way to combat soaring temperatures than to throw on a bathing suit and head to the pool or beach? Adults and kids alike enjoy water play and will happily pass hours swimming or sunning near the water. However, before you take the kids or grandkids to the local pool or beach, don’t forget to review these seven safety tips. Sadly, drowning is still the second leading cause of death from injury for kids under the age of 18.
- Small children need to be supervised at all times. Young children can lose consciousness in even the smallest body of water. That means wading pools, fountains, and even a bucket of water. When playing near water with young children, keep an eye on them and don’t leave them alone. If your concentration starts to wane at some point, end the water play and do something else. If you need to leave a child briefly, make sure you find someone whom you trust to watch them or take them with you.
- When you’re finished with a wading pool or an inflatable pool, turn the pool upside down and dump the water out. Yes, it’s a pain to refill the pool, but you’ll be ensuring that no children get into the pool unsupervised.
- If you have an in-ground pool in your yard, make sure that the pool is fenced in. Make sure the fence has a gate that latches and that is out of reach of small children. Keep a telephone by the pool for emergencies. Keep rescue equipment within reach, including a long pole with a hook (called a shepherd’s hook).
- Enroll your kids or grandkids in swimming lessons. Kids who have taken swimming lessons are less likely to run into trouble near water. However, learning to swim still doesn’t take away all the risks. Flotation devices are not a substitute for knowing how to swim.
- Teach your kids never to swim alone. Make sure kids understand that they shouldn’t run, push, or jump on other swimmers. Some swimmers are less accomplished than others and are more fearful around the water. Pushing and shoving can lead to panic and accidents.
- Remind teenagers about the dangers of drinking near a pool. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of drowning.
- Natural bodies of water such as a lake, ocean, or river require everyone to take extra precautions. Waves and undercurrents can be extremely dangerous in ocean environments. Stick to designated swimming areas and avoid swimming with children altogether on windy days. Rivers can also contain deceptively strong currents, along with rocks and boulders that could pose a concussion risk. Lakes can pose a threat for those who venture into the middle where boats routinely pass. Every year swimmers are injured or killed when a boat traveling quickly fails to see them. When doing a swim across a lake, remember that swimmers must always be followed by someone in a boat who has rescue equipment and can serve as a visible beacon for any boaters in the area.
- Learn CPR in case of an emergency
- Don’t let kids dive into any water that isn’t at least nine feet deep (if diving in a lake, you must make sure there are no large boulders located in the diving zone).
Following these water safety tips can make a big difference—so take note of them and follow through.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Water Safety for Parents,” Yale School of Medicine; http://www.yalemedicalgroup.org/stw/Page.asp?PageID=STW023500, last accessed August 6, 2013.
“The Importance of Water Safety,” Brigham and Women’s Hospital web site; http://healthlibrary.brighamandwomens.org/Library/Encyclopedia/85,P00867, last accessed August 6, 2013.