Water Safety Guidelines for a Fun and Safe Summer
As the temperature heats up, more and more families are flocking to backyard or neighborhood pools for some family fun. While being in the water is a wonderful way to spend a hot summer afternoon, it is important that parents stay diligent as you consider that drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old.
If you plan to have your young children around or in water this summer, we encourage you to review these water safety guidelines to ensure a fun and safe summer.
Teach your children to swim or be confident around water.
Accidents happen, but you can reduce the chance of a fatal accident by helping your child be confident in and around water.
If you have an eager swimmer who loves to be in the water, the American Academy of Pediatrics supports swim lessons for children 1 years and older. It is recommended that you talk with your pediatrician to confirm that your child is developmentally ready before attempting swim lessons.
Even if your child is not ready for swim lessons, encourage your child to practice floating when they are under your supervision. A child who is confident and can remain calm in water is more prepared in case of a water accident.
For infants and toddlers, parents should be at arm’s length at all times even when little ones are in floaties. It’s great to encourage independence and swim practice for your little fish but parents should always be supervising close by.
For older children, if you’re not swimming with them, stay close enough to see your child.
Keep yourself distraction-free.
We know how difficult it is to put all distractions aside, but when your kids are in or near water, nothing should be taking your attention away from them. It’s tempting to see pool time as relaxation time for mom and dad, but even at a pool where there is a lifeguard, you should be alert and aware of your children.
If you have more than one child, the most likely distraction is one of your own children vying for attention. If you find yourself unable to stay focused on your kid in the water because brother or sister needs a lot of attention, plan to bring back up supervision.
Having a basic knowledge of CPR could be the difference between life or death. If you plan to have your kids in or around water this summer, take a first aid class so you are prepared for the worst-case scenario. We hope the tips above keep you from ever needing to use it, but everyone, especially you, will enjoy being around the water more if you come prepared.