As your kids gear up for summer—no doubt—visions of the pool, boat rides and excursions to the water park are dancing like sugarplums in their heads.
And while we don’t want to dampen any of the excitement, we want you and your kids to be safe while in and around water this summer.
Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death, other than birth defects, for children under 4? Or that, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1-14?
These staggering numbers are hard to digest, and Goldfish Swim School wants to do everything we can to keep you safe. With the help of the Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we put together a checklist of things to remember when you and your kids are water-bound:
- Enroll your kids in swimming lessons – It has been proven that swimming lessons have reduced instances of drowning in kids ages 1-4.
- Never swim alone – Teach your kids the importance of having an adult present whenever they are in or around the water. The presence of a lifeguard does not double as a parent or responsible adult caring only for your child.
- Maintain constant supervision – Always keep an eye on your children, whether at the pool, on the beach or in the bathtub. Do not allow them to wander.
- Prioritize water safety – Make sure that your kids are familiar with and respect the water. Always take the appropriate safety measures. Respect the buoys and beach flags that facilitate designated swimming areas. While on a boat, or for precaution’s sake, always make sure you child is outfitted in a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket versus inflatable flotation devices such as water wings or foam objects, such as Noodles.
- Establish comfort with the water – Hyperventilation or extreme anxiety while in the water can cause some people to pass out. Swimming lessons can help to ease this discomfort.
- Keep tabs on the weather – Be sure to monitor the weather before you and your children go for a swim. Tumultuous weather (including wind and thunderstorms with lightning) can aggravate the water and can make it a dangerous place for your children.
- Make sure your pool is properly outfitted for safety – It is the law that there must be physical barriers surrounding your pool. Fences that must be at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching, open outward and away from the pool, and are high enough to be out of a child’s reach.
- Keep toys away from the water – Eliminate as many possible child stimuli from the water or waterside as possible. This is will cut back on unsupervised wandering.
- Prepare for emergencies – Always remember to take stock of your surroundings. Be prepared with a first aid kit, reaching or throwing equipment, lifejackets and a cell phone within reach to dial 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.If at all possible, we encourage that you and your family members be certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Administering CPR before emergency assistance arrives is a big component in saving people’s lives.
- Avoid alcohol – Avoid consuming alcohol before or during your or your child’s swim. Alcohol is responsible for 70% of deaths related to water recreation.
Now that you’re armed with a wealth of safety knowledge, get out there and have fun with your kids. It’s summer after all!
- For those of you not enrolled in Goldfish, you can visit our website to pre-register your children for lessons.
- For those of you interested in taking a home pool safety course, the Red Cross in coalition with Home Pool Essentials offers a 2-hour online course that comes with a complimentary handbook. This course will verse you in how to care for and maintain your pool and how to keep your family and friends safe while in and around the water.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section, ask your local Goldfish staff or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.