The sun is getting hot, which means kids will want to splish and splash around in any water source available to them. Although swim lessons are postponed for now and neighborhood pool parties are cancelled, water has an every day presence in our lives and kids are just drawn to it.
Families will still engage in outdoor activities including heading out to the local lakes, boating, opening the pools at home and family nights in the hot tub. During this unusual stressful time, we must remember to continue educating our kids about pool and water safety.
According to the American Red Cross, the amount of time it takes for you to apply sunscreen and check your fishing line is the amount of time it takes for a child or weak swimmer to drown. Drownings happen every day in pools, hot tubs, lakes, ponds, bathtubs and even buckets of water. This is why it is so important for parents to be knowledgeable of water safety and teach it to their kids year-round. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day, of these, two are children aged 14 or younger.
In addition to water safety, parents should also practice swimming skills with their kids and teach them about helping others.
The American Red Cross recommends everyone take these precautions, whether you’re headed out to the lake or sitting and playing water games with your kids:
- Know your and your kids’ limitations and skill level including physical fitness and medical conditions.
- Never swim alone or leave your kids’ unattended. In normal circumstances, swim where lifeguards or water watchers are present.
- Kids and adults should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket that is appropriate for your weight and size and the water activity. No matter how good of a swimmer you are, always wear a life jacket while boating.
- Adults, swim sober.
- Understand the dangers of hyperventilation and hypoxic blackout (you can educate yourself at redcross.org).
- Know how to call for help.
- Be mindful of the water environment you and your family are in and adjust. This includes river currents, ocean rip currents, water temperature, shallow or unclear water or underwater animals or vegetation.
Teach Kids Swim Skills
Parents and caregivers should be sure they are knowledgeable about swim skills and review often with their kids.
Here are important swim skills to review and practice as a family, whether you’re boating, in the bathtub, pool, hot tub or lake.
- Enter into water that is over your head, and then return to the surface.
- Float or tread water for at least one minute.
- Turn over and turn around in the water.
- Swim at least 25 yards (If they are not able to swim on their own, use floaties and swim along with them).
- Practicing exiting the water.
Source: American Red Cross (redcross.org)
Do your research and take advantage of online educational resources, parents, so you and your family are prepared for any wave or whirlpool that comes your way.
Red Cross Online Courses; redcross.org/take-a-class
Teaches caregivers and parents the fundamentals of swim safety and more.
Save a Heart Water Online Water Safety Course; saveaheartcpr.com/on-line-water-safety-course
A go-at-your-own-pace online course that teaches safety and hazards near or around a body of water, door and gate safety, bathtub safety precautions and more.
American Heart Association; heart.org
The Heart Association offers a quick online Hands-Only CPR instructional video available one their website.