Water Safety for the Summer Months

Keep your child safe in the water with these safety tips

swimming toddlers in pool

Approximately 6,500 swimmers drown every year and with July being the peak month for drownings, it is high time that everyone, parents and caregivers especially, start paying attention to their children in the water and less attention to the phones in their hands. 

It takes only a very short time to drown and while the common thought is that someone drowning is thrashing and yelling, in actuality, drowning often occurs swiftly, silently and without notice.

While many think their children know how to be safe around their own pool, studies have shown that about three-quarters of drowning or near- drownings occur at a home or neighbor’s back yard pool. The same studies also show that a responsible adult is often less than a few feet away! To ensure water safety for the littlest of lives, it is vital that adults remain vigilant with their children are around water. Most importantly, it is now being recognized that infant/toddler swim programs are saving lives. Swim programs across the country are beginning to shift the focus of lessons from serving as playtime, and instead, beginning to actually teach survival skills. Swim programs like British Swim School, who were pioneers of this, teach children and infants as young as three months old how to roll onto their backs when submerged so that on rising to the surface, the airway is clear and the child can both breathe and make itself heard.

In addition to teaching a child survival skills, it is absolutely vital for parents and guardians to remain attentive while children are swimming. Whenever children are in water, there should be a designated “water watcher” That person is a totally responsible individual providing the watchful eye at all times.

By owning the title of water watcher, it is similar with being the designated driver – you are on duty and it is your sole duty to remain totally vigilant. 

Parents should also be responsible for teaching their children the rules of water safety and take the water safety pledge. The pledge includes four simple rules for children to follow: 

To not swim alone, to not play or swim near drains or suction fittings, to always dive feet-first and to always obey the pool rules. By encouraging the children take the pledge themselves, it brings about a certain level of personal responsibility that can make all of the difference when it comes to making good pool-time decisions. 

While the thought of a water accident may seem scary, many tragedies of this nature can be easily avoided. Drowning events are far less likely to occur when following these five water safety tips to keep children safe around water:

  1. Adult supervision: Appoint a designated watcher to monitor children during social gatherings at or anywhere near pools. Always maintain visual contact. 
  1. Start them young: Teach children water safety and survival swimming skills as early as possible so they have the best chance should a water accident occur. 
  2. Be prepared: Know CPR. Keep rescue equipment poolside. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable lifesaving seconds. 
  3. Don’t depend on floaties: Parents should be fully aware that flotation devices are not a substitute for supervision. 
  4. Protect the pool space: Do not leave toys, chairs or other items of furniture where a child could use them to climb into a fenced pool area.

Rita Goldberg is the CEO/Founder of British Swim School, an international swim school franchise that pioneered the non-traditional ideology of infant water safety programs for children as young as three months old. She is also a former national swimmer from Britain and has devoted her life’s work to ensuring children’s safety in the water

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