Summer is just around the corner, and people, especially kids, are preparing to splash around in the pool all day long and spend time outside. Children have been cooped up inside for way too long due to COVID-19, so, I’m sure you are looking forward to letting them loose this summer and enjoying the water. However, letting your children loose does not mean that you forget all about their safety. Children and water are quite a dangerous mix, but you can find a little peace of mind if you proceed with extra caution and remember a few important tips.
According to a health expert at Click Pharmacy, Jana Abelovska, drowning is an extremely common cause of death for minors. Such cases nearly always involve neglect on the part of the parent or guardian who was responsible for the child at the time. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your child’s safety. Consider the 5 following tips the next time you take your children near water:
5 Crucial Tips to Remember for Children’s Water Safety
1: Teach Them How to Swim
First and foremost, teach your children to swim as soon as you can. Children need to be confident in the water, and should wear buoyancy aids in water until you are confident that they can swim unaided in the depth of water you’re taking them to. Many swimming pools start offering water classes for mothers and babies or toddlers, and independent swimming lessons can start once your child is able to follow basic commands. As they get older, it is wise to teach them the etiquette of the pool or public bodies of water and let them know what they should do in case of emergencies. This information will enable them to be safe at such public bodies of water while also keeping other children safe.
2: Always Supervise your children
Even if you are sure that a lifeguard is available near the children, it is still in your best interests to constantly supervise them around the water. You can take turns with the other parents so you can join in on the fun activity, too. This way, there will always be a dedicated water watcher. An adult being present and actively keeping an eye on the children as they swim around can decrease the risk of an incident. It also boosts the kids’ confidence since they know they will be safe if something happens.
The easiest way to supervise is of course to get in the water and play with them. Games with balls and floating or sinking toys can add to their water confidence and make them stronger swimmers.
In addition to public bodies of water, keep in mind that the most dangerous ones tend to be streams, rivers, and lakes. It is an instinct for kids to run free and play in natural water when they are outdoors. So, take the supervision up a notch and use extra caution when children are near lakes, rivers, and even streams.
3: Do not Rely on Flotation Devices
Allowing children to use flotation devices is generally a good idea as the device will help them to build confidence. Such devices are not that expensive and prove to decrease the risk of drowning for children. However, keep in mind that while inflatable rings and other floatation devices are excellent safety precautions, they are still not a preventive measure against the risk of drowning. Even with such devices on, kids are never entirely safe. In some cases, children wearing flotation devices tend to still tip forward or even fall back into the water. In addition to this, water wings are not trustworthy floatation devices as they are known to deflate randomly or fall off. So, try not to rely on pool toys too much and keep an eye on your children the best you can. Nevertheless, you can still use lifejackets for an extra layer of security.
4: Choose to Swim Only in Designated Areas
This tip applies to both kids and adults. Always make sure that you and your loved ones swim in designated areas. Simply put, when you are selecting a sunny spot for your family on the beach, always stay in areas that lifeguards are monitoring. It is vital to note that kids should never swim or wade in water that is not designated as a riptide-free and safe-swimming area by the authorities.
In the UK, a red flag flying on a beach indicates that the lifeguards have deemed that the water is unsafe for swimming in due to weather conditions. If you are in a different country look out for similar signals – the locals will know the prevailing conditions better than you and if there is an indication that you should not swim then make sure that you take note of it.
5: Learn or Touch Up Your CPR Skills
As a parent, it is wise to possess the knowledge as well as the ability to take action when an emergency occurs. You do not want to stand by anxiously when your child encounters a life-threatening situation. So, if such an emergency does occur, you could say that your best bet for saving your child’s life is CPR.
You can get CPR certification by enrolling in a local first aid class, and as a parent, I would thoroughly recommend getting a first aid certification that covers the age of your child. There are specific fist aid courses for babies, toddlers and children, which will teach you the differences in CPR techniques on children of different ages and sizes.
Once you have attended at least one class in person you can refresh your previously gained knowledge with the help of videos by professionals. At best, you should be able to stabilise the victim until help arrives and takes over. This can apply to all adults as such skills can prove to be lifesaving for many.
At the end of the day, you know your children better than anyone. You know how likely they are to follow instructions, or how likely they are to take risks. But, where water is concerned, it is always better to be more vigilant than you would be in other situations, as things can go wrong very quickly.
As a rule of thumb, I would say that children will want very close supervision until you know that they can swim confidently on tier own without aids, and also that they can hold their breath and swim underwater. They should also be confident checking the depth of water and be able to jump in by themselves, so you know that they will be ok if they accidentally fall in. Only you will know when you can start to relax your vigilance a little, but be aware that you are always responsible for what happens to them and for anything they might cause to happen to others.
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