This week, several of my Facebook friends shared a link from slate.com called “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”. As a parent, a person with plans to hit the beach this summer, and a human being, this article scared me. A lot. Apparently drowning “is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children, ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—(and) of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.
When my daughters were first born, the idea of them drowning was a constant concern. “A small child can drown in 6 inches of water” flashed through my head at every bathtime. But as they grew out of the infant and baby stage, my confidence in them soared. They often take showers instead of baths now and those worries seem long forgotten.
Now that they are a bit older and we’ve joined the community pool in our new town, I know that I need to start having serious talks with them (and myself) about water safety. Some important tips from KidsHealth.org:
1. Swimming lessons – Talk to your doctor about an appropriate age to start, but often 4 years old is a perfect age to check out lessons offered in your community.
2. Adult swimmers with “touch supervision” – Just because a child can swim does not make them strong or invincible in the water. Be near enough that they can touch you.
3. Life vests – Use proper-fitting, Coast Guard-approved flotation devices near water. Always follow weight and size recommendations. Inflatables are not a strong preventative measure against drowning.
4. Avoid dehydration – make sure everyone is getting enough water to drink – especially on hot days.
5. Educate – teach your kids not to run near water, to never walk on top of closed pool covers, and to have a parent, babysitter, or guardian with them at all times near the water.
For more pool, beach, and water safety tips, check out: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/water_safety.html#