As we head into the warm summer months many of us will be going to pools, lakes, beaches and other swimming holes with our friends and families to cool off and “Beat the Texas Heat”. When you spend your summer days relaxing by the water it is easy to become distracted.
According to the Drowning Prevention Foundation, drowning claims the lives of three children every day. It is the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 4. A child can drown in less than one minute in as little as one inch of water. There is usually no warning, such as screams or splashing.
Parents and other responsible adults play an important role in keeping the children they love safe around water!
- Make sure children have constant supervision when they are around water-even when lifeguards are present. Designate an adult water watcher who is responsible for supervision of all swimmers. If multiple adults are present take turns.
- Always stay within arms-reach of young children and inexperienced swimmers.
- Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket around water. However, do not rely on life jackets alone-these children need constant supervision.
- Enroll children in age-appropriate swim lessons.
- Never leave a child unattended around water.
- Teach children to ALWAYS ask permission before going near water.
- Keep children away from pool drains and pipes to prevent entrapment.
- Use the buddy system when swimming. Always swim with at least one other person. Even experienced swimmers can get tired or get a muscle cramp and need assistance in the water.
If an emergency occurs around water it is best to be prepared and know how to handle it. If a child is missing, check the water first, every second counts!
- Always have a cell phone available and immediately call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
- Learning CPR and rescue techniques can save a life.
Time in the water can be the highlight of summertime for kids of all ages. Following simple yet effective safety precautions this season will ensure your time in the sun is safe and fun for the whole family.
Robyn Moyer MS, CCLS
Certified Child Life Specialist
St. David’s Children’s Hospital