Swimming is a favorite summer past time and a great way to cool off on hot days. Unfortunately every year children die in swimming accidents. Children under the age of five have the highest drowning mortality rate. How can parents keep kids safe and enjoy swimming this summer? The following Guide To Ensuring Kids Stay Safe While Swimming provides the tips parents need.
Emphasize No One Swims Alone
If you have a pool or your kids have access to a pool you should make a family rule that no one ever swims alone. Children should not be allowed to go in the pool until they have notified an adult of their intention and the adult has given permission. Even adults should have a buddy when swimming so one person can go get help if something goes wrong. It is especially important for children to realize that an adult should always know if they are planning on going in the pool and be available to supervise. It is never OK to just hop in alone. This includes times when the plan is just to cool of quickly and get back out again. It takes mere inches of water and seconds of time for someone to wind up in a drowning situation.
Clean Up After a Swim
Do not leave balls or other toys floating in the pool when everyone has gotten out. These items can lure children to get close to the edge and try to reach a ball or toy at which point they fall in. If no one is around to witness this the child may drown. Be sure to take all toys out of the pool when everyone is done swimming.
Enroll Young Kids in Swimming Lessons
Whether you have regular access to a pool or not it is important to enroll young children in swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children start swimming lessons between the ages of 1 and 4. Although a child under four may not be strong enough to swim independently they can start learning pool safety rules and how to move their arms and legs to return to the top of the water. If they fall in unexpectedly they may be able to propel themselves back to the top and return to the wall. Even if you don't have your own pool, your child may find themselves in a situation in which swimming lessons could save their life. An example would be going to a friends' house who does have a pool.
Non-swimmers Should be Within Touching Distance
A caregiver needs to be close enough to a non-swimmer so that they could reach out and grab them if needed. This includes children wearing a flotation device. Although a flotation device helps keeps kids safer, it is not a replacement for supervision. A child can still wind up with their face in the water while wearing the flotation device. Non-swimmers need to be constantly supervised. Also, keep in mind that rafts, pool noodles, and other floatation toys are not intended to keep a child safe in a swimming pool. These items are toys and can easy get away from a child who can't swim.
Incorporating the above tips will help ensure you and your family have a safe and fun summer swimming. Please don't hesitate to contact us for further information about pool safety.