Summer water safety

- When the weather turns warm, everyone wants to be in or around the water. Hanging out at the pool or on the beach provides hours of enjoyment and exercise for children. 

However, water and children can be a deadly mix with inadequate supervision or in an unsafe environment. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2015), drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children four and under. 

Learning how to stay safe and following a few simple guidelines can make your summer fun and keep your children safe.

Learning to swim is a life-saving skill. The earlier children start lessons the easier and more natural it is for them. Swim lessons help children gain confidence and feel more comfortable in the water.

Buddy Up!  Always make sure children are swimming with a partner.  When people swim together they can help each other in an emergency.

Learn how to properly administer CPR.

Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail.  Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

Water wings or other flotation devices can give a false sense of security. There is no substitute for supervision so make sure not to let your guard down.

Establish who is the "Water Watcher" and have them wear a lanyard so everyone knows who is in charge of watching the children.

Follow the 25-10 rule: If your child can't swim more than 25 yards continuously, you must stay within 10 feet of them at all times.

Drowning is a "silent killer": someone who is drowning is struggling to breathe and can't call out or flap their arms. Look for the signs of drowning: floating at the surface with face down for more than 30 seconds, doggie paddling with no forward progress, staying vertical but not kicking their legs.

If you see someone drowning: 

  • Shout for help
  • Throw them a rescue device
  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Begin CPR if you are trained.

If you have a backyard pool, make sure you have the following safety measures:

  • A 4-foot high fence that can't be climbed
  • An automatically shutting and latching gate
  • Always cover the pool when not in use
  • If you have an above ground pool always remove access ladders
  • Keep toys away from the pool when not in use.  Toys attract young children to the pool.  Depending on their age, children cannot process what the risk is and can fall in when reaching for toys.

It only takes 1 inch of water for a child to drown.  Always empty out unused pools and turn them over when not in use.  Make sure any buckets or containers are completely empty and turn them over. Never leave a child alone in the bathroom and keep toilets closed or use toilet latches.

Always wear a life-jacket when on the water. Children less than 6 MUST wear a life jacket when riding in the open deck of a boat and ANYONE riding a jet-ski must wear one.

If you take precautions, stay alert, be aware of dangers and keep water safety a priority, everyone can safely enjoy the summer!

For more information contact the Kohl's Injury Prevention Program or visit www.childrensdmc.org/KIPP.

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