Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise and a major component of many spring break trips and summer break fun. But parents should remember that swimming also comes with risk. Follow these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to protecting children from drowning.
- Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats, docks or near bodies of water.
- Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child. The jacket should not be loose and should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.
- Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example.
- Adolescents and adults should be warned of the dangers of boating even as a passenger when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and even some prescription medications.
- Children follow your example, whenever you are on a boat – everyone, kids and adults should wear a life jacket.
OPEN WATER SWIMMING SAFETY
- Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies!
- A lifeguard (or another adult who knows about water rescue) needs to be watching children whenever they are in or near the water. Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water – use “touch supervision,” keeping no more than an arm’s length away.
- Make sure your child knows never to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.
- Never let your child swim in canals or any fast-moving water.
- Ocean swimming should only be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty.
- Teach children about rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.
- Be aware that pools and beaches in other countries may not have lifeguards, and pools may have unsafe drain systems. Supervise children closely.
- At the beach, stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard
- Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in one, don’t try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.
- Seek shelter in case of storm. Get out of the water. Get off the beach in case of lightning.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2018). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.