Swim Safely This Summer

July 15, 2014

Swim season is here; are you watching your child? Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death to children ages 1 to 14, taking more than 900 children’s lives each year.

“A child should always be supervised in or near water, including shallow wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, toilets, and hot tubs,” said Daphne Greenlee, coordinator of Safe Kids Springfield and trauma outreach coordinator for the Mercy Injury Prevention Center. “Children can drown in as little as one inch of water — and it can happen in no time at all.”

Even though 94 percent of parents say they supervise their children while swimming, many acknowledge that they engage in other distracting activities at the same time – for example, talking, eating, reading or taking care of another child. A “supervised” child is in sight at all times with undivided attention focused on the child.

You may want to jot down a few of these water safety tips:

  • Empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside-down and out of children’s reach.
  • Pay attention to open water. Be aware of under-currents, changing waves and undertows when at the ocean or lake.
  • Do not let children dive into water unless the child has learned proper diving techniques, an adult is present and the depth of the water is greater than nine feet.
  • Children should learn to swim. Enroll them in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors when they are ready, usually after age 4.
  • Adults and kids over age 13 should learn infant and child CPR.
  • Know which of your child’s friends and neighbors have pools. Make sure your child will be supervised by an adult while visiting.
  • Keep rescue equipment, a telephone and emergency numbers by the pool.
  • Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal safety device around oceans, rivers, lakes or when participating in water sports.
  • Always swim with a buddy. Swimming alone is very dangerous.