water safetyFinally, after the long, cold and snowy winter, summer is here!!! And what better way to cool down than a dip in the water. Families are heading to the pool, waterparks, lakes, rivers, etc to relax, have fun and get wet. Here are some tips to stay safe, so that your family outing does not end in tragedy.

NEVER, EVER leave your child alone near a body of water. It is so important, that I am going to say it again: NEVER, EVER, even for a moment, leave your child alone near a body of water. This includes kiddie pools, buckets of water, tubs containing water, toilets, spas/hot tubs, retention ponds, etc. Anywhere water can collect is dangerous to a child. Even one inch of water in a bucket (or anywhere) can result in drowning. An infant is so “top heavy” that if they fall in, they fall in head first and can have their nose and mouth underwater. Buckets and tubs are #1 cause of drowning for children <12 months. Pools are #1 for ages 1-4. Rivers and lakes for 5 and older.

Drowning is the second leading cause of death in middle childhood, after car accidents.  Empty containers of water and kiddie pools after using them.  Home pools need to have four sided fencing. The fence should be 4 feet high with a self closing and latching gate. There should be nothing around the fence that children can use to climb over it.  Rigid motorized pool covers alone will not cut it. “Water-wings” are junk and inflatable pool toys and mattresses are not life preservers.  Always wear a lifejacket. Take toys out of the pool afterwards, so the kids won’t be tempted to play with them. For children under 5, an adult has to be within arm’s reach at all times around bodies of water. For older children, the supervising adult should have their complete attention on the children. That means no texting, no internet, no phone calls/socializing, chores or drinking alcohol. Preferably, the adult watching the kids should know CPR. Older kids/teens should never swim alone.

I have focused mainly on summertime, but wintertime is dangerous as well.  Frozen retention ponds, lakes, rivers are unsafe. The ice needs to be 4-5 inches thick to support a child. The ice should be free of cracks, bubbles, slush and dark areas. Snowcover may actually insulate the water from freezing. Best thing is to stay off frozen bodies of water and go skating at a rink.

For more information, please check out this link: water safety

Have a safe summer!