Stay within arm’s reach when it comes to water and kids! Swimming is a popular activity for both adults and children, especially during the summer months. It is an excellent way to stay active and cool off from the heat, but it can also be dangerous, particularly for children who do not have strong swimming skills. Drowning is a leading cause of death among young children, so it is essential for parents to take safety precautions when their kids are in or near the water.
Drowning Danger: Stay Within Arm’s Reach
One of the most critical safety tips for parents is to stay within arm’s reach of their child when they’re in the water. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends this safety measure for all children, even if they know how to swim. Parents should be close enough that they can quickly intervene if their child gets into trouble. Drowning can happen quickly and silently, and often within just a few seconds. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water, and this can happen in swimming pools, lakes, oceans, or even bathtubs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about ten people die from unintentional drowning every day in the United States. Of these ten, two are children aged 14 or younger. Additionally, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children aged 1 to 4. These alarming statistics emphasize the importance of water safety and staying within arm’s reach of children when they’re in or around water.
To prevent the possibility of drowning, parents should first teach their children to swim. Enrolling children in swimming lessons as early as possible can teach them basic water safety skills such as floating and treading water. It is essential to note that even if a child knows how to swim, they should not be left unsupervised in the water.
The AAP recommends that children aged 1 to 4 should receive swimming lessons with an adult present. The adult should be within arm’s reach of the child, provide constant supervision, and ensure that the child does not become too tired or cold. Children aged 4 and older can participate in formal swimming lessons, but parents should still provide constant supervision and ensure that the child is not in water that is too deep or has strong currents.
Life Jackets and Beyond
Using flotation devices, such as life jackets or swim vests, is another important step toward water safety. Children who are not strong swimmers should wear a properly fitted flotation device when they are in, or even near, the water. However, it is essential to remember that flotation devices are not a substitute for supervision.
It is crucial to be supervising children at all times when they are in or around the water. Parents and caregivers should never leave a child unattended near water, even for a few seconds. If a parent needs to leave the water’s vicinity, they should take their child with them. Remember that drowning can occur in other bodies of water besides pools, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. Life jackets should be worn near these bodies of water as well.
Add a Pool Fence
If a family has a swimming pool at home, it is essential to secure the area with a fence. Additionally, the gate should be locked when the pool is not being used. The AAP recommends that pool fences be at least four feet high, have self-closing and self-latching gates. The slats should also be spaced no more than four inches apart. Additionally, parents should remove any pool covers completely when the pool is in use.
CPR Saves Lives
Finally, knowing CPR is an essential skill that can help parents quickly respond in an emergency. CPR can be the difference between life and death, and every parent should learn this life-saving skill. The American Heart Association offers CPR classes both online and in-person.
Above all, when you’re swimming or near the water with children… be sure to always stay within arm’s reach at all times! Being prepared and keeping a close eye are the keys to safety.