Did you hear that it was 105° in Texas yesterday? It's hot, hot, HOT!! My family doesn't have an A/C in the Jeep right now (getting that on Monday, woohoo!) so when it's hot outside, we're looking for a way to cool off!! MamaNYC talked to us about heat safety a while back, but today we need to talk about WATER SAFETY.
Last Summer was my first summer as a Child Safety Specialist and I was not prepared for the cases that I received regarding water injuries and drownings. It was overwhelming and quite possibly the reason that The Boy and I only went to the pool (maybe) twice all Summer. This year, I'm bracing myself as the Summer begins and the cases come up. I'm planning to get some swimming lessons for my boy and we'll be playing in the sprinklers and shooting water blasters more.
If you children are itching to get in the pools, lakes, creeks, and water sprinklers already, be prepared and do your best to keep them safe.
Water Safety Tips
1. Eyes on the Prize
Keep your eyes on the children at all times. Watch children carefully at all times when they are around water. Even experienced swimmers need supervision. Don't let yourself be distracted by phones, books, or other conversations when your children are in or near the water. If you ever lose sight of a child, don't assume they are okay. Check the water first!
2. Teach and Be Taught
Teach your children about the safety tips listed here and in other places. Teach them about the rules of public locations and develop rules for your own swimming areas at home or in your neighborhood.
Swim lessons are everywhere right now and some can be found in affordable places. If you know how to swim, consider teaching your children yourself. If you don't know how to swim, sign yourself up for lessons first! Take a CPR class and teach your family and friends about what you have learned. Use life jackets and teach your children about safety around water.
3. Lock it Up and Cover it Up
Many families have underground or above ground pools at their own homes and it is very important to practice extra safety with these pools.
a. All pools should have a fence surrounding them that is at least four feet tall and completely surrounds the pool area.
b. The fence should have a secure gate system with a lock too high for children to reach. This lock should be secure at all times and keys should be kept out of children's reach. (Hint: Keep and extra set of keys near the gate just in case the children manage to get into the pool area and lock you out!)
c. When the pool is not in use, cover the water with a pool cover that is in good condition. If the edges are frayed, children can slip in and get trapped under the cover and become undetectable.
d. Cover drains properly around the pool and ensure that all equipment is away from the sides of the pool to prevent tripping hazards that could cause a child to fall into the pool.
e. If there is a deck surrounding the pool, ensure that all flooring on the deck is secure and consider placing mats around to prevent slipping accidents.
When you are visiting public pools, look around to ensure the areas around and inside the pool are using these same safety tips as well.
4. Use your Friends and Let them use You
Use a buddy system when going to a public pool or swimming area. Take turns being in charge of watching the children. Keep an eye out for others' children around you in case they are distracted. SafeKids.org suggests the Water Watcher system for designating an adult who will not leave the water area until another adult can replace them.
Ideally, children would be watched one-on-one at all times when playing in the water, but I know that when a parent has multiple children, this is not always possible. If you are going to take several children to a water area, grab your friends and work on your tans while watching the children together. Just don't get wrapped up in talking about your upcoming trip to BlogHer or that new Matthew McConaughey movie and lose track of your children.