Since there’s no such thing as ‘too safe’ when it comes to water safety, we’re swimming in tips about water safety.
Drownings are the third leading cause of preventable death for children under 10. They can happen in less than a minute, with complete silence and in just centimetres of water—really.
Here are our life preserving tips for you:
- Duty calls. Always appoint an adult (or someone with Red Cross certification) to be on duty when kids are in or near the water—under no circumstances should children be left unsupervised.
- Dress up. Insist that non-swimming children wear a life jacket (they are much safer than water wings) at all times when near the pool, at the beach or outside at the cottage and that everyone (adult and child) wear one when boating.
- Up in arms. Stay within arms reach at all times (and yes, that means you have to get in the pool) and if you are in the water with children, don’t turn your back on them.
- Down the drain. Completely empty the wading pool after every use, and position the pool on its side for storage so it can’t collect rain.
- Rules are cool. Establish rules that everyone must follow at the pool. For example, if the adult supervising the pool needs to go inside, everyone needs to get out of the pool.
- No floating away. Watch children closely when playing with inflatable toys as they can overturn, leaving the child underwater and possibly trapped underneath.
- Tidy up. Remove all pool toys from the pool after the fun is done to prevent children from falling in when trying to reach for them.
- Slow down. Enforce a strict no-running rule to avoid spills on slippery decks and docks.
- No step zone. Do not leave furniture near the pool fence that would enable a child to climb over it and gain access to the pool when it is meant to be locked up.
- Feet first. Avoid diving into the shallow end, or any water you have not swum in before, to avoid the risk of neck injury.
- Listen for noise. When kids are playing in the water, they make lots of noise. If things are quiet, check the situation immediately.
Stay safe and your summer should go swimmingly.
Tested by Denise S., Toronto
First published 2010.07.20
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