You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Swim Season is here…keep your child safe!

We have spent many summer days at the pool or beach!  It is a part of summer and kids!

Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching.  That means the beaches and pools will be open!  Summer water fun can be wonderful for children; most of us have great memories of the lazy days of summer spent at the pool or beach.  As a parent, those lazy days have a new meaning.  No longer will you be sitting in a beach chair with a book.  When there is water and children, there must be close supervision.  Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of  accidental death in children, and most drownings occur when there has been less than 5 minutes of unsupervised play around the water.  What can we do to make our children’s pool and beach time fun and safe?

Water Safety

  • A child can drown in just a couple of inches of water.  All water must be supervised, even blow up backyard pools.
  • If you have a pool, provide layers of protection for your child.  Think about fencing your pool, locking a gate, locking the backdoor from the house, an alarm, and/or a protective pool cover that will bear a child’s weight.
  • Inflatable above ground pools should have the ladder removed when not in use.  Children are very “top heavy” and children can fall head first into soft sided inflatable pools when they lean against them.
  • Empty small child pools after use and turn the pool over.  Remember it only takes a few inches of water to be dangerous.
  • Hot tubs and decorative water features in yards are a danger too!
  • Keep toys away from the pool when it is not supervised; toys tempt children into the water.
  • Always provide “touch supervision” for your child.  Your child should not be farther than arm’s length away from you in the water.
  • Always “pass the baton” of supervision.  Do not assume that other adults, and that includes even other family members, are watching your child if you leave the pool or beach area.
  • If a child is missing, always check the pool, lake, retention pond or any other water first.  Seconds matter in drowning.
  • Keep rescue equipment by the pool and a phone with emergency numbers programmed in it.
  • Do not rely on floatation devices like “floaties” or “water wings” as your child’ supervision.
  • If your child has had swim lessons, do not rely on those lessons as your child’s supervision…”touch supervision” by an adult is a must!
  • Only swim in designated swimming areas on a beach with lifeguards.
  • Teach children to enter lakes and oceans feet first.
  • Take a CPR course!  There are many parent focused courses in the community.  Contact local hospitals and the Red Cross for classes.

Swimming Lessons

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children age 4 and older take swimming lessons.
  • Children between the age of 1 and 4 can take swim lessons, but children at this age usually are not coordinated enough to swim well.  Classes with parents are fun for children under the age of 4.
  • Babies younger than 1 can also enjoy the water with an adult.   Be sure that the water is warm enough and your baby is protected from the sun.  A child that shivers is too cold!
  • There should be no classes that force a child to go under the water before the age of 4.  Many children will swallow or “inhale” water and there is a risk of “water intoxication” in a very young child.
  • Most children will be able to swim well if they have taken lessons by about age 5.
  • Swimming lessons do not “drown proof” your child or replace adult supervision near the water!

Prevention of Illness

  • Remember swim diapers are not leak proof.  They are mainly for the purpose of stopping bowel movements from entering the water.  Urine and stool does seep from the diaper.  Always change the diaper when your child has a bowel movement, and make it a practice to change swim diapers every 60 minutes to prevent leakage.
  • Do not let children swim with diarrhea.
  • Never change a diaper poolside.  Always use the locker room changing area.  Wash your hands well after a diaper change.
  • Take young children to the bathroom frequently to prevent pee in the pool!
  • Do not let your child drink pool or lake water.
  • No swimming with contagious illnesses like pink eye.

So, put on that swim suit ( Ugh!), slather on the sun screen, find a sun hat and sun glasses, and pack up the pool and/or beach essentials and head to your “swimming hole”.  Kids love it, and what is summer without water!  Be safe!  Share your experiences at your favorite “swimming hole”!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


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