As the weather gets warmer, it can be a fun family activity to spend hot days by a pool or body of water, but taking the right precautions is key. Each year nationwide, approximately 2,600 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms from near drowning incidents and 350 children under the age of five drown in pools.
While accidents can and do happen, parents can take several preventative measures in order to keep their children safe in the water.
How to Prevent Injury in the Water
Sign Your Children (and Yourself!) up for Swim Lessons
Ensure that everyone in your family knows how to swim well. If your children know how to swim, not only are they putting themselves in a better position to stay safe, but they may also be able to help another person who may be struggling. In addition, the same goes for you! If your child is in trouble, you may not be able to help them if you can’t swim.
If you or your family need to learn, or just want to take a refresher course, sign up for age-appropriate swim lessons at your local pool or community center.
Before entering a pool or body of water, make sure that you and your children can:
- Tread water for at least one minute
- Swim at least 25 yards at a time
- Exit a pool without using a ladder
- Submerge and swim to the surface
Always Maintain Adult Supervision
Even if lifeguards are present, supervise your children whenever they’re around water. Lifeguards can’t watch each child at the same time, so it is important to keep track of your children. If you have very young children, always stay within reach.
Ensure Everyone Wears Life Jackets Around Water
Any time you’re boating or are near a body of water, be sure that your children are wearing properly sized, U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. It can help keep your child above water until help can reach them.
Only fit your child with a life jacket that is intended for their size and weight. Learn how to choose the right life jacket.
Know What to do In an Emergency
Acting fast and knowing what to do in an emergency can be the difference between life and death. To best prepare, ensure:
- A first aid kit is nearby at all times.
- A cell phone is within reach to call 9-1-1, and that children know how to call during emergencies.
- Know how to do CPR.