Can you believe Spring is around the corner? Right. And then, just like that, it will be Summer! What does that mean to us Floridians, the people from the land of the sun and sand? It’s time for fun in the water. The beaches, backyard pool parties, waterparks, boat rides, splash pads, you name it; if it’s water-related, it’s fun! But just like everything else, there comes a fine print—water safety.
All the fun comes with a need for extra vigilance when your child is in and around water. If you are a child’s caregiver, you should know something. If it is a baby, that would also mean the bathtub and a mere 1-2 inches of water. Recent statistics show that drowning is the second leading cause of death in children between 1-4 years after congenital disabilities. Florida ranked the highest in the US for unintentional drowning death rate amongst children 1-4.
Drowning is silent and quick. But the good news is that it is preventable with proper safety precautions.
Should you be scared and not let your precious little one play in the water?
Absolutely Not! Don’t let your fears prevail over your children. Playing in the water is undoubtedly a lot of fun and learning water safety, especially swimming, is a life skill. There are significant benefits for children to take swim lessons and have fun in the water! Water activities can be a prescription for your child’s health and well-being, and it is proven to build resilience.
Here are 5 quick tips to prepare and start today for another sunny and splashy summer in paradise.
- Take swimming lessons: This allows you to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the water. Most children are developmentally ready for proper swimming instructions by four years of age. What do you do before that? Children mature differently, but for the most part, water survival skills and swim lessons are still helpful and will help prepare them and be comfortable in the water. For children less than a year, swimming lessons are not a safety precaution against drowning prevention. During this developmental stage, their neck muscles are not strong enough to keep their heads above water to breathe. One of the most critical parts of this step is finding the right school for your child. A place where they feel welcomed, happy, and, most of all, safe. Big Blue Swim School has a brand new location in Pembroke Pines and offers swimming lessons to transform kids into safe and confident swimmers. The experienced and professional swim instructors are eager to teach your little ones in our welcoming and stress-free environment. Most important of all, they encourage kids to have fun and enjoy the process of learning the invaluable life skill of swimming.
- Direct Supervision: Assign A Water Watcher. No child should ever be left unsupervised near any body of water, even if they are good swimmers. Parents should stay at arm’s length from their children when they are in the water. Have you heard about a water watcher? When you are having a pool party, designate one adult as a water watcher, even if there is a lifeguard. This job should be interchanged and can rotate responsibility every 15-30 minutes amongst all the adults. The water watcher should not be on the phone or have any other distractions when on the job.
- Pool Protection: Fences around pools should be 4 feet in height. Have auto-lock gates that open outside. Fences should not have attachments near them that a child can use to climb over or squeeze under. Lock access to pools during non-swim times. All doors that have an excess to a collection should be securely locked and have alarms set, just in case a child can open it. Pool alarms that can sense waves on the pool surface can be an added layer of protection. Pool covers should be secure so a child cannot slip underneath.
- Learn CPR: It is proven to save lives, and you are prepared for an emergency.
- Consult Your Pediatrician: If your child has any medical condition preventing them from being in the water. Schedule a visit with your pediatrician to prepare with the necessary medical precautions in place so that they can have as fun a summer as possible with friends and family.
It is alarming to hear about the number of fatal accidents yearly related to drowning. Did you know that formal swim lessons reduce a child’s chance of drowning by 88%? Enrolling your kids in year-round swim lessons performed by experts in a professional setting is the best way to prepare a child for being around water. These tips will help you prepare and understand the benefits of water safety and guide your family in the right direction this year.