Kids love water, but water doesn’t always love kids. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, “Each year about 200 children drown in the U.S. and several thousand others are treated in hospitals for submersion accidents, accidents which leave children with permanent brain damage and respiratory health problems.” Therefore, it’s crucial that we practice water safety year-round.
Though that’s a scary statistic, it doesn’t mean you should keep your children away from the water. It does mean, however, that they need constant and vigilant monitoring. We shouldn’t curb their natural curiosity, but teach them how to play smart and be safe. Here are some water safety tips on how to do just that.
1. Teach kids how to swim as early as possible.
2. When it comes to infants and toddlers, an adult should ALWAYS be in arms reach.
3. Make sure babysitters understand water safety and the need for CONSTANT supervision. No exceptions.
4. Put the cell phone away, (but close at hand in case of emergency) and give young children 100 percent of your attention when they are near water.
6. When you’re at a swimming area, know where the rescue and safety equipment is located.
7. Keep constant visual contact with children in a swimming area. If you need to leave an area, designate another adult to keep watch.
8. A swimming float and water tube are fun but are never a substitute for supervision.
9. Drowning is a silent death, not a noisy one. Learn what drowning “looks” like.
If you have more than one adult available, use the “Water Watcher” Method. Basically, this designates an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time so children are never left unsupervised. Download our free, printable Davis Lakes Water Watcher Badge that visually identifies who the designated Watcher is. It also has a handy graphic that shows drowning signs, what drowning looks like and how to spot a swimmer in distress. When printed, the card will fit into a standard size badge holder that could be worn on a lanyard.
Remember, it only takes four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death. Stay safe and do your part to prevent accidental drowning.
For more about water safety visit www.nationalwatersafetymonth.com
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