Water Safety Tips for the Summer
With the arrival of summer, many families are looking forward to the start of beach, boating and pool season. It’s an exciting time of year, and the perfect time to ensure that every child has the skills he or she needs to be safe in and around water.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages one to four—and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, thousands of children are hospitalized each year for nonfatal drowning incidents, with a significant number sustaining permanent brain damage. Also, a child can drown in as little as one inch of water and in as little time as 20 seconds.
There are practical water safety tips that all parents and caregivers need to know:
Designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, and anything else that might distract from watching swimming children - every single second. Surprisingly, most children who drown are supervised.
The American Red Cross says that the main thing that parents can do to keep kids safer around water is to enroll them in swim lessons.
Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water.
Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes are just water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
Even the most seasoned swimmers can encounter trouble. Make sure swimmers don’t overestimate their skills and stay hydrated.
In addition to these tips, there are several skills that the instructors at Goldfish Swim School Fairview Park and Goldfish Swim School Cleveland East Side focus on. Parents can also practice these skills with their kids:
Going underwater and breath control. To condition your baby or toddler for going underwater, start with the verbal cue “NAME. Ready. Go!” Pause one second, dip into the water and celebrate!
Getting in and out of the pool safely. Help your little ones learn how to get out of the pool by manipulating their bodies in this order: elbow, elbow, tummy, knee. You can even do this on your living room floor by having your baby climb onto a couch or chair! Eventually, your little ones will be strong enough to manage the movement on their own!
Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall! Once they have the movement down, let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help them turn back to the wall, and then assist them in getting out of the pool by using the elbow, elbow, tummy, knee method. As they get more confident, let them go under the water and come to the surface on their own.
Crab Walk. Help your kids work on their grasp reflex to assist with their ability to get out of the pool. Support them while they crab walk by holding onto the wall.
Pulling. Assist your baby in practicing pulling paddle motions with their arms. This trains both the mind and muscles to perform techniques for later swimming strokes.
The water is a place for family fun. But keep in mind that accidents can happen quickly. Constant supervision and basic water safety skills will make for a safer summer for everyone.
Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes, shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. For more information, please visit goldfishswimschool.com.
Kristen Chandler is a Marketer for 2MomsMedia. She is a Cleveland-based mom of three.