Friday, May 21, 2010

Water and Swimming Safety

In addition to Child Identification, we here at Ident-A-Kid are also concerned with your child’s safety. With summer and hot weather rapidly approaching, it is time to break out those swim suits and cool off in the water! However, water, in many forms, can be dangerous. Below are some helpful swimming and water safety tips from the Mayo Clinic.

Water may be fun to play with — but it can also be deadly. Consider child safety tips for home pools, natural bodies of water and common household hazards.

Most children are drawn to water. It's sparkly. Things float in it. And it's fun to splash. But child safety takes on new meaning near water. Anyone can have a water-related accident — even children who know how to swim. To keep your children safe in and near the water, follow simply child safety guidelines.

Child safety: Residential swimming pools, spas

Multiple layers of protection can help prevent drowning in a home pool or spa. If you have a pool or hut tub, follow all local safety ordinances. Also consider these general child safety tips:

 Fence it in. Surround your pool with a fence that's at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall. Slatted fences should have no gaps wider than 4 inches (10.1 centimeters), so kids can't squeeze through. Avoid chain-link fences, which can be easy for children to climb. Install self-closing and self-latching gates with latches that are beyond a child's reach.

 Install alarms. If your house serves as part of your pool enclosure, protect any doors leading to the pool area with an alarm. Add an underwater pool alarm that sounds when something hits the water. Make sure you can hear the alarm inside the house.

 Block pool and hot tub access. Use a rigid, motorized safety cover to block access to the pool when it's not in use. Secure a cover on hot tubs as well. Don't allow water to collect on top of the pool or hot tub cover. Remove above-ground pool steps or ladders or lock them behind a fence when the pool isn't in use.

 Teach children to swim. Most children can learn to swim at age 5 — but know that swimming lessons won't necessarily drown-proof a child.

 Remove toys. Don't leave pool toys in the water. A child may fall into the water while trying to retrieve a toy.

 Keep your eyes peeled. Never leave children unsupervised near a pool or hot tub. During social gatherings, adults can take turns being the "designated watcher."

 Beware of drains. Don't allow children to play near or sit on pool or hut tub drains. Body parts and hair may become entrapped by the strong suction. Use drain covers, and consider installing multiple drains to reduce the suction.

Child safety: Natural bodies of water

Swimming conditions can be unpredictable in lakes, rivers and oceans. Water depth can change rapidly, as can water temperature, currents and the weather. Murky water may conceal hazards. Follow these child safety tips:

 Don't swim alone. Never allow children to swim alone or without adult supervision.

 Wear a life jacket. Children should wear personal flotation devices whenever riding in a boat or fishing. An air-filled swimming aid isn't a substitute for a life jacket.

 Feet first. The first descent into any body of water should be a jump — feet first. Before the jump, check water depth and look for underwater hazards.

 Stay in designated areas. At public beaches, swim only in areas set aside for swimming. Don't allow children to swim in drainage ditches or other water-filled areas not intended for swimming.
 Beware of thin ice. Drowning can occur in the winter, too. Avoid walking, skating or riding on weak or thawing ice.

Child safety: Toilets, bathtubs and buckets

The water in common household items can be dangerous for young children. A baby can drown in just 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of water. A curious toddler can fall into a toilet, bucket or fish tank. Taking these precautions can help:

 Supervise bath time. Never leave a child alone in the bathtub or in the care of another child. Drain water from the tub immediately after use.

 Shut toilet lids. Install childproof locks on toilet lids.

 Store buckets safely. Empty buckets and other containers immediately after use. Don't leave them outside, where they may accumulate water.

Of course, even if you're diligent about child safety, accidents are still possible. Prepare for an emergency by learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Quick action can save a life.

For more information and to view the source of this article, please visit the Mayo Clinic’s website
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