Note from Kresha: Today I've asked Patricia from Public Health Corps to share Part 2 of her post on pool and water safety. (Read Part 1 here.) It's swimming season and even though these reminders may seem over-protective to some, they're important to be aware of nonetheless. Happy swimming!
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While swimming is an absolutely essential skill for anyone to have, knowing how to swim is only half the battle when it comes to staying safe around water. My kids have been swimming for years, but every year as summer nears I sit them down for lessons in water safety. Then, when the season is in full swing, I try to work in little reminders whenever I can.
For example, we often go swimming at our neighbor's pool. One thing I stress with my kids is staying away from the drains and making sure the drains are always properly covered. This is important because, as this video from PoolSafely.gov explains, the suction from an uncovered drain can trap a person's hair, clothing, or body part, holding them under water. So, each time we arrive at the pool we check the drain covers.
Of course, there are many other important water safety lessons your kids should know. Read on for a few essentials:
Lesson One: Respect barriers. One of the most important ways to protect a child from drowning is to keep them away from pools and other bodies of water that are dangerous for them when they aren't being supervised.
Teach your children to respect boundaries, such as pool fences. Start preaching this early. And to help you do so, Safe Kids Tucson includes a lesson on barriers in its water safety curriculum. Kids learn about barriers in the “ABC's of Water Safety” activity, which also serves as an alphabet and letter-tracing lesson.
Lesson Two: Never swim without adult supervision. If there's a downside to teaching your child to swim, it's that they can become overly confident in the water. My kids have reached an age where they think they'll be perfectly fine swimming on their own, but I know that they're just not ready. While this lesson from Kids Alive reminds parents about the importance of supervising kids at the pool, I think it can help you make an important point with your kids. Even if you know how to swim, there are a many dangers at the pool and no one is drown proof. That's why a parent or qualified caregiver must be present when they go for a swim.
Lesson Three: Take a moment to look for danger. I spend a lot of my time teaching my kids to be safe by the pool. But a couple of years ago, I realized I had failed to teach my kids about the dangers of other bodies of water. My family and I were at the beach. We had just lugged the day's gear down and were setting up when my son took off in a sprint towards the water.
I just happened to look up at the lifeguard stand to see they had put a flag out indicating the rip current was bad that day. Thankfully we were able to get to my son before he hit the water, but it was a definite lesson learned for me. Don't forget to teach your kids about staying safe around natural bodies of water. This Water Safety Lesson Plan teaches kids the importance of taking a moment to spot danger in these bodies of water and provides questions they should ask before getting in.
Summer should absolutely be fun for your kids, but it's also important that they know how to keep themselves safe. When your kids heed these lessons, they'll be better prepared to do just that.