Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Keep your kids safe around water

VIDEO: Life Lessons: Keep your kids...

It's not the time of year we think of swimming but health experts say for parents, it should be.

They say drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages one to 14. So it's this time of year that pediatricians say parents should start to make some plans.

Whether it’s a pool, a pond, a lake, or a beach, water is a great way to cool down in the summer. However, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages one to 14.

Children should always be supervised around water and since your smartphone tends to be a big distraction, make a pact that you’ll put it away or ignore it when your child is in the water. Learn about some more water safety rules every parent should know.

By the age of four, most children are ready for swimming lessons, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it’s a big factor in reducing a child’s risk of drowning.

However, even if your child is a good swimmer, pediatricians still recommend “touch supervision” meaning you should be close enough to touch your child whenever they’re in the water.

And don’t put too much faith in floatation devices because they can deflate, and they prevent children from learning how to swim without them.

Also remember to keep all floating toys out of the pool because they may entice toddlers into the water.

If you have a pool, a pool fence reduces the risk of drowning by 95 percent. It should have four sides and be at least four feet high. You may also want to consider a pool alarm.

And if a family pool or beach party is in your plans this summer, consider hiring a life guard or designate “water watchers” during the party since parents may not be focused on the water the entire time. 

Parents, caregivers and pool owners should all learn CPR. To find a CPR class taught by a certified instructor in your area, visit the Red Cross website or call 1-800-red-cross.

And a warning for parents: in rare cases, symptoms of coughing and chest pain don’t show up until the next day. That’s called “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning.”


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