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How to Prevent Drowning on your Watch

Swimming is a fantastic way to keep the kids busy and provide hours of fun during these hot summer days.

Some of my favorite childhood memories were around the pool.

As a caregiver, you must ensure your children are cautious and well educated on water safety starting at a young age.

Did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of death of kids under the age of 14?

What can you do to protect your children from drowning?
  1. Start early- I typically recommend investing in formal swim lessons as early as 1! Swimming is a life skill that we ALL should learn. I vividly remember having a swim teacher come to our house for swim lessons as a toddler. Not only did she teach us how to swim, but also the importance of supervision and the dangers of swimming pools.

  2. Take a CPR class- I highly recommend CPR training for parents, siblings, cousins, babysitters, etc.

  3. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER leave children unattended around the pool or any body of water- Be sure not to rely on floaties or other devices to keep your kids safe. I typically suggest having a designated adult watch the children and switch off throughout the gathering/party. Safe Kids Worldwide has a printable Water Watcher Card making it easy to identify who the "watcher" is at any point in time. This watcher should give swim-goers his/her undivided attention, including no cell phones or other distractions. For young kids and those that cannot swim well, the watcher should be in the water with them.

  4. Safeguard your backyard- Install fences and gates to surround the pool. These should be at least 4 feet tall and should be self-latching.

  5. Get an alarm- Install an alarm on the door leading out to the pool to notify you and all others in the family when the door has been opened.

  6. Use a pool cover- Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use is always a good idea. It should fit around the entire pool and there should be no gaps where small children could slide underneath.

  7. Keep the toys out of the pool area- Be sure that no toys are left around or in the pool. We do not want to tempt children to climb into the pool to retrieve their toys.

  8. Have emergency equipment on hand- This includes a life ring, throw ropes, reaching pole, and a first aid kit.

  9. Life jackets and puddle jumpers- This topic could be a blog post in itself. Life jackets and life preservers should be worn at all times when boating, sailing, or on any watercraft. They should also be worn when around natural bodies of water (i.e., oceans, lakes, and rivers). Young children and those who cannot swim well should wear a properly fitted life jacket in and around pools. Floaties or other air-filled devices should NOT be a substitute for a life jacket. **Super important note that deserves asterisks and bold print to get your attention: kids can become reliant on puddle jumpers and these various personal floatation devices. They can provide a false sense of security. I never want the puddle jumper to take the place of knowing the dangers of water, as well as the life skill of learning how to swim. There can be dangerous and serious consequences when your child innocently enters the pool without supervision to fetch a toy, thinking he or she can swim independently because they have successfully done so while wearing their puddle jumper. This brings me back to #1- start swim lessons and education early!**

  10. Secure or remove all other water hazards- Did you know that young children can drown in less than 2 inches of water? Empty all coolers, baby pools, buckets, trash cans, or any other containers that hold water.

Infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers do not splash, thrash, scream, or shout when drowning. Drowning is silent. Please take a moment to read, re-read, and share the above information. Stay safe!

Until next time, Mandi

Oh, and P.S. those mermaid fins are super cute but make it impossible to swim, thus increasing the risk of drowning.

That's me. Always swimming! Supervised, of course!

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