Before your family pulls out their swimsuits this summer, brush up on water safety, for your kids’ sake.
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to make sure children are protected while they spend their summers in or around pools, lakes and oceans:
Don’t leave kids alone in the water, and make sure a responsible adult is watching them closely.
- “Touch supervision”—being within an arm’s length of a child in the water—is especially important for kids under the age of 5 and those who have less swimming experience.
Be water wise
- Even if a lifeguard is nearby, the responsible adult shouldn’t be distracted by a smartphone or other activities, such as reading or playing cards.
- Fences around pools should be at least 4 feet high and protect all sides. Make sure that a young child can’t get through any openings.
- If your house serves as a fourth wall around your pool, keep in mind that kids might be able to go through windows, doors and pet doors. Alarms can protect the doors, and window guards can keep kids from going out windows.
- Keep rescue equipment on hand—a long pole with a hook on the end (known as a “shepherd’s hook”), a life preserver and a portable telephone.
- “Floaties,” those inflatable swimming aids, are not rescue equipment. Don’t use them in place of approved life jackets.
- Be aware that suction from drains in a pool or spa can be dangerous, and repair them when needed.
- If you are boating, make sure kids wear properly fitted life jackets at all times.
- Teach your child to never dive into water without getting permission from an adult who’s made sure the depth is safe.
- Don’t allow swimming in the ocean unless a lifeguard is on duty. And teach your kids how to escape rip currents by swimming parallel to the shore until it’s safe to swim back to shore.