It’s the end of the summer, time to squeeze in the last couple of weeks at the beach, on the lake, or at the pool. Although these places are fun, it’s good to remember that water safety is important, especially for children. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of death in children 1 to 14 according to the CDC. So, to keep your family safe at the end of the summer, here are some tips to remember when you’re around water (from Chris McCuiston, co-founder and CEO of Goldfish Swim School in Michigan).
“1) Know that drowning is a “silent killer.” It occurs in a quiet blink, and drowning only takes seconds.
2) Designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, iPads, books, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. After all, most children who drown are supervised. Have the grown ups take turns in 30 minutes increments. That way a person doesn’t get too tired or zoned out.
3) Enroll your kids in swim lessons, if possible as early as four months old, but if the infant years have passed, any age is fine. Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.
4) Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water. Not only will your water fears rub off on your children, but by not knowing how to swim, you are eliminating a person with the ability to save a child’s life.
5) Invest in latches, fences and sensors if you own a pool. Again, drowning only takes a second.
6) Notify a supervisor if a lifeguard is distracted from doing his or her job. That means no chit-chatting, flirting or “quickly” checking texts. Also, say something if a lifeguard sits at a station more than 30 minutes. They need to rotate to stay alert. Doing these things eliminates complacency.
7) Take first-aid and CPR. Every second counts.
8) Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
9) Stay humble around water. Over-confidence can lead to accidents.”
Have a fun, safe Labor Day weekend!
Kristina Sauerwein. 9 Simple Steps to Prevent Your Child From Drowning. Baby Center Blog. http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/05202015-water-safety-child-drowning-summer/