According to the National Safety Council, “drowning claims the lives of over 4,000 people every year. Although all age groups are represented, children 0-4 have the highest death rate due to drowning.” As a parent, there are several precautions you can take that can make water and swimming a fun and safe activity for your family.
Swimming Basics. Swimming can be a fun and exciting activity for you and your children, but only if you teach them a few key rules to remember anytime they want to set foot in the water:
- Make sure you give every family member an opportunity to learn how to swim. Children over the age of three should have lessons taught by qualified instructors. Just remember that knowing how to swim doesn’t make your children “drown-proof”.
- Teach your children to never swim alone. Always practice the buddy system with your children and insist that they do so even when they are with other adults. In addition to that, explain to your children the importance of swimming in areas that have lifeguards on duty and show them places that are okay to swim. Also, do not allow them to dive into the water unless it’s been clearly marked as safe for diving. If not, the water may be too shallow or their may be obstructions under the water that make diving unsafe.
- Set individual rules for each family member based on his or her abilities. For example, the younger, less experience swimmers may not go in water that is more than waist-deep.
Home Pool Basics. A home pool is a great way to relax and refresh during the summer, but it can also be the source of tragedy if you haven’t taken the appropriate precautions to protect children from the dangers involved with water safety.
- Enclose your pool with a fence that is at least 4 feet high and that has vertical slates not more than four inches apart. All door and gates should automatically close and latch and all latches should be out of children’s reach.
- Always remove all toys from the pool area when it’s not in use. Pool toys and balls can attract young children to the pool area and they can accidentally fall into the water while trying to get one.
- If you have a pool or there is a pool in the neighborhood, always check there first if you cannot find your child. It only takes seconds for a child to drown, so it’s important to act quickly and to scan both in and around the pool for the missing child.
- Always empty or drain inflatable pools in your yard when they are not in use. A child can drown in less than two inches of water, so it’s important to not leave such water unattended.
Other Considerations. When enjoying the water with your family, keep these other considerations in mind as well:
- Check the water temperature. Young children cannot hold their body heat as long as adults. If you notice your child is shivering or his or her lips turning blue, it’s time to get out of the water and warm up.
- Leave the water at the first sign of bad weather.
- Use sunscreen and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and skin from the damaging rays of the sun. Insist that your children do the same.
- Drink plenty of water on hot days. It’s possible to become dehydrated even when swimming.
Sources: The National Safety Council; (www.nsc.org).
The American Red Cross (www.redcross.org).
- Avoid teaching your children fear of water. Instead, teach them water safety.
- If there are residential pools in your neighborhood, teach your children the rules about not going near the water with out adult permission and supervision. Be sure to watch your children closely when they are outside.
www.rubystone.com has two products that can help you protect your children: “Safe Pool” and “Safety Turtle”
“Safe Pool” is a simple device that can be a lifesaver for the little ones in your family or neighborhood. Safe Pool provides protection 24 hours a day. If a child accidentally wanders into the pool area, the device sounds a loud alarm siren. It is weather and water resistant with an adult pass through button. This product is popular in Arizona, California, and Florida.
For your peace of mind “Safety Turtle” helps to protect your children. Safety Turtle is the only safety device that protects your children from water accidents by sounding an alarm the instant he or she falls or ventures into the water. Safety Turtle is an effective "last line of defense" to protect your children. Simply lock the Turtle wristband around your child's wrist. If he or she falls into the water, a loud alarm will sound at the Base Station.