Summer is officially here. Kids are out of school and one of the most enjoyable and favorite summer pastimes is swimming. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among children ages 1-4 and the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children 19 and under. In 2018, 918 children under the age of 19 drowned and more than 7,000 were seen in the emergency room. Here are a few water safety tips to consider as you enjoy the family reunions, Fourth of July cookouts, and family vacations by the poolside.
- Watch kids when they are in or around water. Keep young children and weak swimmers within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure more experienced swimmers are with a partner every time.
- Choose a Water Watcher. When there are several adults present, choose one to be responsible for watching children in or near the water for a certain period of time, such as 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, select another adult to be the Water Watcher.
- Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development, and how often they are around water.
- Make sure kids learn these five water survival skills.
- Step or jump into water over their head and return to the surface.
- Turn around in the water and orient to safety.
- Float or tread water.
- Combine breathing with forward movement in the water.
- Exit the water.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in a pool. Be aware of situations that are unique to open water, such as limited visibility, depth, uneven surfaces, currents, and undertow. These potential hazards can make swimming in open water more challenging than swimming in a pool.
- Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills. It is important to know how to respond in an emergency without putting yourself at risk of drowning. Learning these skills may help you save a life.
For more information on water safety, visit www.safekids.org.