As parents, we all have the same mission — to keep our children safe and healthy! We watch what they eat, we monitor their friends, and we make sure they exercise enough. A subject that also needs to be discussed often, especially around this time of the year, is water safety. After taking a look at the stats below, you’ll better understand why bringing attention to this subject is so important.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- From 2005-2014, there was an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.
- About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
Water and pool safety is about being extra vigilant, prepared, and aware.
Here are some important safety tips to arm yourself with as the weather gets warmer:
- Enroll your children in formal swim lessons early in their lives! Look for a quality swim school in your area (with a small instructor to child ratio), and sign your kids up when they are babies! Many programs begin at as young as 4 months old, so your child can learn to feel comfortable and confident in the water from a very young age. Learning basic pool skills, like learning to find the wall and floating on his/her back, could save your child’s life!
- Before leaving the pool area, make sure to clean up all pool toys and floats. Toys in the pool can create a curious child, which in turn can cause a child to fall in the pool unintentionally.
- Make sure there is always a locked fence around your pool. Kids should stay away from the pool unless there is an adult nearby; and when you’re at a public pool or ocean, only swim when there is a lifeguard.
- Don’t take your eyes off the pool or the children in it! Be vigilant about watching your children and those you are responsible for. Put your phone away, avoid alcohol use, don’t read a book, or carry on a long conversation that takes your attention away from the water. Maintain constant visual contact. If you have a trusted babysitter or family member watching your kids in the pool, be sure they know these rules and follow them as well.
- Learn CPR and basic first aid so you are prepared for an emergency. Contact your local swim school or visit the American Red Cross site to find CPR classes in your area.
- Know the signs of someone in trouble in the water. Drowning can be quiet. Watch for a head that is too low in the water for too long or a child who is not kicking. Kids usually play loudly in the pool. A quiet child in the pool can be a child in distress. Note if a child is trying to look up, and can’t answer if you ask them a question, they may be in distress.
- If your child is not a strong swimmer, have them wear a coast guard-approved life jacket. We like Puddle Jumpers for young children.
- Always swim with a buddy! Always have an adult at arm’s length from a young swimmer, and have older children swim together.
- Remind your children of the water and safety rules every time you visit a pool, ocean, or lake!
Wishing you all a fun and safe summer!