Water Safety Drowning Prevention
Posted on June 21, 2017 by CHS
Another school year is over and summer is finally here. Everyone is looking forward to poolside fun, cooling off in the water, and sunny adventures at the beach. This also means young children will have a higher risk of having drowning accidents. Drowning among infants and young children is more common than many parents believe. Children ages one to four have the highest rate of drowning near swimming pools and even in the safety of our homes. Most infant-related drowning deaths occur in bathtubs or water buckets when a child loses balance and falls into them. With the start of summer, parents are encouraged to take a moment and learn more about water safety to keep their children safe.
According to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is less of a chance of drowning for children ages one to four who have had formal swimming classes. However, pool safety training doesn’t necessarily result in increased water safety skills in young children. The AAP recommends that parents “should decide whether to enroll an individual child in swim lessons based on the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional development, physical abilities, and certain health conditions related to pool water infections and pool chemicals.” AAP does not recommend children under the age of one to receive any water safety lessons. It is also important to note that even if your child does receive formal swimming lessons and is able to swim well, parents or a supervising adult must monitor the child playing in the pool at all times. Children under the age of 12 should always swim with adult supervision.
Here are some safety tips for when your child is near water.
Be cautious of any body of water, big or small
Children tend to wander off on their own, which makes it very easy for a child to crawl or walk away and fall into the water. Other areas that pose a risk of drowning are fishponds, fountains, buckets filled with water, and even your own bathtubs. Be sure to empty out all the water when you’re done with a bath or a bucket and always have an adult supervise the child whenever he is near any body of water. Ideally, the adult supervising should know CPR in case of emergency.
Understanding poolside safety rules
Before your child can have fun in the pool, make sure she understands all the safety rules. Some of these rules are no running around the pool area, no pushing each other into the pool or underwater, stay within sight of the parents and the lifeguard, stay away from the drains and suction fittings, and no jumping in the shallow end.
Make sure your child wears a lifejacket whenever he rides in a boat or open water. It is not safe to replace the lifejacket with inflatable toys, as they can deflate any moment.
Get rid of any distractions when your child is in the pool
Parents should watch their child the entire time she is playing in the pool. Make sure you are not distracted by your smartphone, computers, or any other tasks that may cause you to take your eyes off of your child. It may seem relaxing to sip on your beer or your choice of alcohol poolside, but you should avoid alcohol as it can cloud your thinking and distract you from your child in the pool.
Gating the pool (for backyard pool owners)
It is important that backyard pools are enclosed by a slatted fence, at least 4 feet tall. The locks of the gates should be out of reach for young children and you can even purchase an underwater alarm for the pool that will sound when something hits the water. The pool and hot tub should also be covered when they aren’t in use in case your child wanders off to the pool area. Use rigid covers so that water won’t collect on top.
To better protect our children, parents are encouraged to learn what to do in case of emergency. Take CPR and water rescue classes, as they can come in handy and may even save a life someday.
To see more water safety for young children, see the links below.