Having fun in the water is one of the best ways to cool off on a hot summer day. For most children, safety is not top of mind, which is why parent or guardians need to help children understand that safety comes first. According to Safe Kids USA, during the warm months of summer, there is an 89 percent spike in child deaths due to drowning.
Who doesn’t want to go swimming when the water is warm? Sadly, according to Safe Kids USA, 9 out of 10 child deaths from drowning happen when the parents looked away for a second . Parents and guardians need to know a few quick tips and requirements about water safety.
Supervise. Actively watch and supervise children in and around water. A parent or guardian should supervise their own child, even if there is a lifeguard on duty. Try having a conversation with your child from the shore or pool’s edge, or take part in a game.
Life jackets. It is important that parents and guardians understand the importance of life jackets. Life jackets come in different styles and this means they fit differently. To make sure you are using a life jacket correctly, read the directions before you use it. Remember, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets always are to be used when a child is on a boat or when he or she is playing water sports.
Swimming lessons. Get your child involved in swimming lessons when he or she turns 4. When teaching a child to swim, also teach him or her to go into the water feet first .
Secure your pool. For those of you with pools at home, one requirement is to put fencing around the pools that’s at least 4 feet high, and the gates should close and latch automatically. This will help keep children out of the pool area when it’s not in use.
For more water safety tips, visit safekidswi.org.
-Erica Tomaszewski, intern, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin Coalition