Water activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the hot summer months. Whether it’s time spent at the pool, a lake, or a fun day at the beach, there are many opportunities for children of all ages to enjoy water activities. It is important, however, to remember that water can be dangerous, and drowning is preventable. Here are some important tips on how to keep children safe around water.
Supervision: Watch children when they are in or around water – even if there is a lifeguard around. If many adults are present, choose one designated person to supervise without distractions. This will assure that an adult is watching at all times without assuming that someone else is watching.
• Fence: Install a fence around home pools. The fence should be at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing and self-latching. The latch should be placed as high as possible so that young children cannot reach it, and the gate should completely surround the pool, separating it from the house.
• Access: Whether you have an inflatable or above ground pool, make sure to remove any access to the pool (such as a ladder) when not in use. Additionally, remove any furniture that can be used to climb into the pool.
• Toys: When toys are not in use, be sure to remove them from the pool, as they can attract small children.
• Cover: Keep the pool covered when not in use. Make sure the pool cover is on securely to avoid danger of a child falling into the pool and being trapped underneath the cover.
Swimming lessons: The American Academy of Pediatrics supports swimming lessons for most children age 4 years or older. In younger children (ages 1-4) swimming classes may reduce the risk of drowning, but as children develop at different rates, no age specific recommendations are made.
Swimming partner: For adolescents that know how to swim, make sure that they always have a swimming partner with them, whether at the pool, lake or the ocean. Never allow them to swim (even with a partner) without a lifeguard around.
Know what to do in the case of an Emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first and call 911 if needed. Parents, caregivers and pool owners would benefit from learning CPR, as it may help save a child’s life.
When it comes to water safety, prevention is key! Be safe, and have fun in the water!
From the Real Experts at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone:
Doreen Benary, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and clinical instructor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.