If you are a parent, it’s that time of the year again when you start to think about water safety. But it is really a topic that should be a priority for parents throughout the entire year and not just during the summer months. I feel that when we think of “water safety for children”, we first think of pool or beach safety and sometimes forget about other types of concerns. Miss Kelli discussed this topic on The Rhode Show. Watch it here!
General water safety tips:
- #1 Safety Tip is Proper Adult Supervision – children need to be supervised at all times when they are around water. A good rule of thumb is to remember that children under 5 should be only an arm’s length away from an adult. Please don’t rely on any blow up flotation device as a replacement for proper adult supervision. These devices may lose air, shift position or become a drowning hazard if your child falls out of them. Don’t give yourself a false sense of security and assume these toys are capable of keep your child safe…because they are not No device or toy can replace proper adult supervision. Never leave your child unattended when they are near water, even for a few minutes.
- Get Educated –
- CPR Class – All caregivers and families should take a basic CPR class so they will be prepared in an emergency situation. This is a very simple way for all caregivers to protect their families.
- Swim Class – Enroll yourself and your child in a swim class. This will teach them about water safety and swim instruction. What a great opportunity for children to learn all the ins and outs about water safety from the professionals. Parents do need to remember that knowing how to swim doesn’t mean that you cannot drown.
- Be Prepared – When possible keep a phone nearby in case of an emergency and you need to call 911. This simple step can save your child’s life. Every minute can be valuable in the case of a possible drowning.
Water safety tips around pools and hot tubs…
- Barriers – Always secure your pool or hot tubs with fencing that is at least 5 feet tall. Pool owners need to take responsibitly for keeping their pools safe and secure for children. They can do this by providing several levels of precautions and or barriers, such as pool alarms, locks on gates and removing ladders from the pool when they are not in use.
- Remove Toys – It is very important to remove all toys from the pool so children are not tempted to reach for them and fall in the water unnoticed. Colorful, fun toys are hard to resist for small children. So, make it part of your pool routine to remove all toys from the pool when you get out.
- Pool Covers – Don’t forget to secure pool and spa covers to remove the access to these water sources when not in use.
- Rescue Equipment – Parents should make rescue equipment easily accessible if needed. Sometimes we forget about this important step.
- Missing Child – If a child is missing always check out the pool or hot tub first because every second counts in a suspected drowning.
- Safe Diving – Teach your children that diving is not safe in pools that are less than 9 feet deep.
- And again and most importantly never leave your child unattended while they are in or have access to water. Keep your child in your line of vision at all times. Many small children have drowned in pools with a crowd of adults sitting right next to the pool… due to lack of supervision.
These are very important tips for parents to be educated about when around pools or hot tubs.
What can we do as parents to promote Bath/Bucket/Toilet safety…
Parents and caregivers sometimes forget about water safety concerns surrounding buckets, baths and toilets. But many small children drown in baths, small buckets or toilets each year in the United States. So families need to remember these tips…
- Supervision – AGAIN never leave a child unattended while you are giving them a bath, not even to grab a towel or answer the phone. A child can become submerged underwater and drown in minutes.
- Adult Supervision – Don’t ever leave a small child supervised in a bath by an older sibling. Many times an older child can become engrossed in playing in the water with his/her toys and not even realize that their sibling is underwater. This is the adult’s responsibility not the sibling.
- Never Walk Away or Turn Your Back – If you need to leave the bathroom during bath time, then take the baby with you so everyone is safe.
- Empty Bath Water Immediately – Don’t forget to empty all the bathwater when bath time is over. Children could return to the bathroom and be tempted to play in the old water when you are distracted with other household duties.
- Yes…Toilet Safety – Keep the toilet seat down at all times so children aren’t tempted to play in the toilet water. To a small child, even toilet water looks like fun to them. And it is very difficult for small children to get back out of the toilet if they fall in head first. Many parents put toilet locks on the toilet for another barrier for toilet safety.
- Empty Small Amounts of Water – Many caregivers forget or are not educated about the risks that surround a small bucket of water. Children love to play in water whether it is in a pool, puddle or a bucket of water. The concern is that many times a small child leans over, falls in the bucket and becomes trapped and can’t get out. And the result being that the child may drown in less than an inch of water in a matter of minutes. So, again it is so important to supervise all children around any and all water source to prevent childhood drowning.
I know that we all wish to keep our children safe, cool and happy this summer. So, please remember to take these extra precautions when children are involved in water play summer fun!!!!
This article was written by Kelli DiDomenico, VP of Family Engagement and Community Relations at The Children’s Workshop.