A question that we get asked a lot of the time is “When will my child water safe?” The truth is no one is ever completely water safe, but there are things we can do to help our children be safer in and around the water.
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance stresses that there isn’t one specific solution to prevent children from drowning, rather there are layers of protection that you can put in place to prevent children from accessing water unattended. The layers of protection philosophy means that multiple strategies are in place at once.
Children should never be without adult supervision when they are in or near water. Even if children are able to swim or are wearing a life jacket, an experienced adult swimmer should be within arm’s reach.
Designate a responsible and trustworthy person as the “water watcher.” Never assume someone else is watching unless you have designated that person. The water watcher shouldn’t be involved in distracting activities such as texting, reading, drinking alcohol, or leaving the pool side at any time.
At a party, take turns with other adults as the water watcher. This way someone is always watching the water and you can take mini shifts so no one misses out on the fun. Consider hiring a lifeguard or babysitter specifically to watch kids at a water function.
Teach your children to never swim alone and to always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible. Make a family pact to never swim alone.
Enroll your child in swim lessons today. It’s never too early or too late to invest in the safety of your children. If you don’t know how to swim, then enroll in lessons as well! You cannot help in an emergency if you cannot swim.
The Center for Disease Control says that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent among young children ages 1 to 4 years.
Find a swim lesson program that includes water safety and where the instructors are CPR Certified. At Sea Otter, we practice water safety skills at each level and require all of our instructors to maintain a current First Aid and CPR Certification.
Make sure there aren’t any toys within the pool gate or around the pool when no one is using it. Your child’s favorite toy can dangerously lure them to the pool area without anyone knowing.
In the event of a water-related emergency, administering CPR can greatly improve the outcome of the victim’s health. Sea Otter offers CPR and First Aid certification, taught by Emergency Medical Services trained instructors. Sign up for a class today!
Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
Four-sided fencing that completely separates the pool from the yard should be installed around pools. Fencing should be at least four feet high and have self-latching gates that open outward with latches that little ones can’t reach.
Instituting each one of these adds an extra layer of protection in keeping your family safer around bodies of water. Drowning is preventable yet still ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S.
Let’s start adding these layers of protection into our lives and homes and start being water safer!
Source: YMCA OF GREATER NEW YORK