Summertime swimming

With summer here, parents are frequently pooling their thoughts and asking me for tips on keeping their children safe when they are around pools and other bodies of water.

Well, let me dive right in and provide some information on water safety and children.

Drowning remains one of the leading killers of young children in the U.S. with over one thousand children dying from drowning each year — most in home swimming pools.

Teach your child how to swim

Studies suggest that swimming lessons can lower but not eliminate the risk of drowning in children between the ages of one and four years but unfortunately do not lower the risk in children under one year of age.

Adhere to nationally

certified learn-to-swim guidelines

Make sure the lessons forbid submersion of young children and encourage parental participation in all activities. By age four, all children who are going to be in and about a body or water or pool should certainly be taught how to swim but again swim lessons do not make children “drown proof” at any age.

Never leave a child

unobserved around any body of water

A child can drown in under 20 seconds, the same time it takes to go inside and answer a phone or the front door.

Take a class to learn CPR

Ideally babysitters, parents, and grandparents should learn CPR if they are going to watch a child by a pool or lake.

Older child? Swim with a buddy

Older children should always swim with a buddy who can swim if an adult is not around to supervise.

Add safety apparel

Children who cannot swim should wear proper-fitting Coastguard approved floatation devices when in the water.

Water wings and inner tubes are not effective protection against drowning.

Pools need to be

completely enclosed

This should be done with a self-locking, self-closing gated fence at least 4 feet high with slats less than 4 inches wide that children cannot crawl through.

The latch should be at least 54 inches from the ground.

Pool toys should not be left out when not in use

These toys can attract children into the pool area when supervision may not be present.

Have your cellphone with you when children are in the water

This is a good idea so that 911 can be dialed immediately if there is a water emergency.

Hopefully, tips like these will dry up any concerns about knowing more about how to protect your child in the water this summer.


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