10 simple water safety tips
Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff of summer, and the warm weather often leads to activities in and around the water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years. Most drowning can be prevented with proper supervision and by following safety guidelines.
“When you’re outside having a good time, teach your kids the rules and enforce them. More importantly, make sure an adult is accountable for the safety of all children,” Dr. Traeger says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these 10 water safety tips:
1. Be aware of small bodies of water, such as bathtubs, fishponds, ditches, fountains, rain barrels, watering cans—even the bucket you use when you wash the car. Empty out containers of water when you’re done using them.
2. Children who are swimming—even in a shallow toddler’s pool—should always be watched by an adult, preferably one who knows CPR. The adult should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision” whenever infants, toddlers or young children are in or around water.
3. Enforce safety rules: No running near the pool and no pushing others underwater.
4. Don’t allow your child to use inflatable toys or mattresses in place of a life jacket. These toys may deflate suddenly.
5. Be sure the deep and shallow ends of any pool your child swims in are clearly marked. Never allow your child to dive into the shallow end.
6. Backyard swimming pools, including large, inflatable above-ground pools, should be completely surrounded with at least a 4-foot high fence that separates the pool from the house. Keep the gate closed and locked at all times.
7. If your pool has a cover, remove it completely before swimming. Also, never allow your child to walk on the pool cover; water may have accumulated on it, making it as dangerous as the pool itself.
8. Keep a safety ring with a rope beside the pool at all times. If possible, have a phone in the pool area with emergency numbers clearly marked.
9. Spas and hot tubs are dangerous for young children, who can easily drown or become overheated in them. Don’t allow young children to use these facilities.
10. Your child should always wear a life jacket when he or she rides in a boat. Ensure it fits properly and can’t be lifted over your child’s head after he or she has been fastened into it.
Dr. Traeger advises parents to always have clear communication with other adults as to who is watching the children.
“It can be very easy to be at a gathering and assume that someone is watching, when in fact, that’s not the case,” Dr. Traeger says.
He also encourages adults to limit alcohol and cell phone use while “on duty.”
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