Swimming and aquatic sports are excellent family activities that should be enjoyed with caution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides sobering facts. “Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.”
Creating a safe swimming environment is the responsibility of each parent. Parents should safe guard every aspect of their children’s swimming experience by following these helpful tips:
Starting at a young age, children should be told about the dangers of swimming.
At an early age, children should be taught how to float and tread water.
Provide swimming lessons for your child at an appropriate age. Everyone in the family should become a proficient swimmer. There should be no exceptions.
Make sure an adult supervises your children whenever they are near water. It only takes a couple of minutes for a disaster to occur.
Instruct your children to ask for permission before entering an enclosed pool area or a body of water. This will help to instill the importance of water safety.
Swim in areas that have lifeguards on duty.
Have a cell phone available in the event of an emergency. A landline may or may not be nearby.
Avoid swimming alone; swim with a companion.
Talk about proper etiquette with your children. Walk and do not run around a pool area. Do not push or shove anyone in the pool. Jump and/or dive into an open area. Do not bring glass items onto the pool deck.
Monitor your child’s ability and comfort zone. Have them remain at a depth that is appropriate. Putting children outside their comfort zone could cause undue stress or panic.
Do not allow children to eat or chew gum while in the pool. They could easily choke.
Follow posted pool and/or swimming rules.
Do not rely on flotation devices. Supervision is required even when using a flotation device. Inexperienced swimmers should wear Coast Guard- approved life jackets.
Wear sunscreen and reapply frequently.
Remain hydrated. Children and adults should avoid caffeinated drinks. Adults should avoid alcohol.
Teach children to avoid playing or swimming near pool drains or suction outlets.
Taking steps to prevent a swimming accident is essential. Start at a young age to instill the proper etiquette and the importance of following rules. Teaching children how to swim and how to act appropriately near water could be a life saving endeavor.