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Water Safety Tips for ChildrenWhen it’s warm outside few things compete with the allure of water. Children spend days on end participating in numerous activities by the pool or lake. As a parent, your number one concern is their safety, as water can be dangerous. Here are a few  safety tips to follow to enjoy a day of swimming!

Take Swim Lessons

Babies can be introduced to the water at 6 months of age. However, formal lessons are not encouraged until age 1.It has been shown that children age 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal instruction.Swim classes are encouraged for children to get familiar with the basics of  being in the water.They will be taught how to establish their independence, relax, and breathe properly. If you are not a swimmer, it is advised that you take lessons as well. Swim classes are typically available through your local American Red Cross or YMCA.

Supervision is a must                                                                                                                                                  

Anytime your children are around water, an adult needs to be present. Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of death in children under age 14. A small child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Never assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning. As a supervising adult, avoid distractions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo By Janko Ferlic     

All it takes is a few seconds for an accident to occur. If toddlers will be in the pool, appoint an adult to be in the water at an arm's length away. Arm floaties and noodles are fun accessories for kids, but do not rely on them for safety. Have your children fitted for a Coast Guard-approved life vest as they are the only safe floatation device available.

 

Set Rules

It can be hard for a child to contain their excitement around the water, but you must make them aware of the rules and potential dangers of not following them. Show your children the markers on the pool that identify how deep the water is. No running is to be done around the pool area, as well as no pushing or pulling others underwater. Teach your children to always ask for permission before going near water. If they are with swimming with friends, encourage the buddy system. Pair each child with a friend and explain that they are responsible for knowing where their buddy is at all times. If they do not see their buddy, tell them to alert an adult or lifeguard immediately.

Make sure that your children know the difference between an open body of water and a swimming pool. Ocean waters have currents that can pull a strong swimmer too far out, so make sure to warn your kids not to swim unless a lifeguard is present. Lakes and ponds are shallow by the bank, but increase in depth farther out from the shore. Foot protection should be worn while in or around the water to avoid injuries from jagged rocks or hidden glass.

 

Be Prepared for Emergencies

When it comes to water emergencies, every second counts. Have a phone nearby along with a list of emergency contacts. A safety ring with rope should be kept poolside at all times. Any supervising adult should be CPR Certified. Training classes are usually offered at hospitals, fire departments, and recreational centers. In the event of an emergency, pull the child out of the water immediately. Appoint someone to call 911 as you administer CPR until help arrives.

One those hot summer days, it’s nearly impossible to stay away from water activities. Swimming, boating and fishing are great ways to enjoy some fun in the sun. Grant yourself peace of mind by enforcing water guidelines to keep your children safe!

 

 

Author: Alex Robbins

Mr. Robbins is part of a wonderful team at Safety Today, a community of parents and professionals promoting safety in the home and the community.

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