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Warm weather is here to stay for the next several months and folks are looking for a way to stay cool. Whether you choose to take a dip in the pool, or swim in one of the beautiful Austin-area lakes, there are some important tips to keep in mind so that you and your family stay safe.

Drowning is a leading cause of death in children, with those under the age of 4 being at greatest risk. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water, which means it’s not just pools and bathtubs that pose a danger. More than 1,000 children under the age of 14 die each year, and another 16,000 have a near-drowning event.

  • Never leave a child alone around water, even for a second. It only takes a moment for a child to drown.
  • Avoid distractions while supervising children. Glancing at your phone for a minute or engaging in a conversation with someone else can be just enough time to for a child to slip underwater. Children should have your undivided attention and you should always remain within arm’s reach of a young infant or toddler.
  • Begin to teach your child how to swim as young as 6 months old, or whenever you think they are ready. Educate them on how to tread water, float and stay close to edge of the pool.
  • Teach children to always swim with a partner and to never go near water unless an adult is present to supervise.
  • Don’t trust that swimming aids can take the place of appropriate supervision. Floaties, noodles and other types of water toys are not intended to be life-saving devices.
  • Instruct children who swim to the bottom of the pool to avoid the drains. It’s possible in some pools for hair or swimsuits to become entangled in the drain, or for systems with single or flat drains to create a level of suction that traps a child at the bottom of the pool. Inspect drain covers frequently to ensure covers are not cracked or missing, and replace flat drain covers with dome-shaped ones if possible.
  • Create a barrier around the water by adding safety fencing to a backyard pool with a self-latching gate. Also, consider installing a door or pool alarm to alert you if a child wanders outside towards the pool unsupervised.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first – and don’t just quickly view the surface. Be sure to go out and look at the bottom of the pool. Seconds count in a drowning, so confirm that your child is not in the water before spending minutes searching elsewhere.
  • Learn CPR for infants, children and adults. This is life-saving knowledge that must be refreshed every couple of years. If you encounter a drowning victim, call 911 immediately and initiate CPR.

Summertime is a season of fun with family and friends. But, it’s always important to consider the safety precautions when spending time around water, especially with children. These tips just may help to save a life!

Please see these additional sites for more resources:

Kristen Hullum, MSN, RN
Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator
St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center

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