Drowning is a serious and preventable problem that affects thousands of children every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of five. It’s a frightening statistic, but the good news is that drowning can be prevented with the right precautions and safety measures.
If you have young children, it’s important to take steps to protect them from drowning and ensure their safety around water. In this article, we’ll discuss some essential water safety tips to help prevent drowning and keep your child safe. From always supervising your child around water to teaching them basic water safety rules, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of drowning and create a safer environment for your child.
Here are some water safety tips to help protect your child from drowning:
- Always supervise your child: The most important step in preventing drowning is to always supervise your child when they are around water. This means staying within arm’s reach of your child at all times and avoiding distractions like phones, books, or conversation with others. Even if your child knows how to swim, accidents can happen quickly and without warning. It’s also important to remember that drowning can occur in just a few inches of water, so be vigilant around any body of water, including bathtubs, pools, hot tubs, and even buckets.
2. Use Barriers: Another important step in drowning prevention is to use barriers around any body of water. If you have a swimming pool, install a fence or safety cover to prevent access when the pool is not in use. Make sure the fence is at least four feet high and has a self-closing, self-latching gate that is out of reach of children. In addition to barriers, consider using a pool alarm that will alert you if anyone enters the pool area without your knowledge. There are also wearable pool alarms that can alert you if your child falls into the water.
3. Teach Your Child to Swim: Enrolling your child in swimming lessons as soon as possible is another important step in drowning prevention. Even if your child isn’t proficient in swimming, learning basic skills like floating, treading water, and getting to the edge of the pool can make a huge difference in an emergency. Swimming lessons can also help your child feel more comfortable and confident in the water, which can reduce the risk of panic or fear in case of an emergency.
4. Make older kids buddy up: As an extra layer of protection, experts recommend that kids follow the buddy system. Pair your child with a friend or a sibling, and explain that each kid is responsible for knowing where her buddy is at all times. But don’t forget that a pal doesn’t replace adult supervision; the system serves as a supplement.
5. Use Appropriate Safety Gear: Another important step in drowning prevention is to use appropriate safety gear around water. Make sure your child wears a properly fitting life jacket whenever they are around water, even if they know how to swim. A life jacket can provide an extra layer of protection and prevent exhaustion in case of an emergency.
There are also flotation devices that are specifically designed for toddlers and young children, such as arm floaties or inflatable vests. However, these devices should never be used as a substitute for adult supervision.
6. Teach Your Child Water Safety Rules: Teaching your child basic water safety rules is another important step in drowning prevention. Make sure your child knows not to run near the pool, not to dive in shallow water, and not to push or jump on others in or near the water. It’s also important to teach your child to never swim alone, even if they are proficient swimmers. Always make sure there is at least one other person in the water with them.
7. Be aware of the hazards at home: It’s true that most drowning accidents of young children happen in backyard pools or the beach, but what most people don’t know is that it can also happen around the house. Here are some examples of sneaky hazards around the house:
Bathtubs: Never leave a child under 4 alone in the tub or near a running bath. A school-age child can bathe by himself — but a parent should stay within earshot.
Baby bath seats or rings: Never leave your child unattended in a bath seat — he could slip down into the water and get trapped underneath, or the ring could tip over.
Buckets and containers: A curious toddler can fall headfirst into a water-filled bucket and be unable to get out. Even a cooler filled with melting ice can be a drowning hazard. Always make sure to empty after use.
Toilet bowls: Keep toilet cover down and bathroom door closed at all times. Install a toilet-cover safety latch.
8. Know CPR: Knowing how to perform CPR can save a child’s life in the event of an emergency. Take a CPR class and keep a copy of the instructions near the pool area. It’s also important to have a phone nearby so you can call emergency services if needed.
9. Be Prepared for Emergencies: Finally, it’s important to be prepared for emergencies. Make sure you have a phone nearby to call for help if needed, and have a first aid kit and rescue equipment (such as a life hook or shepherd’s crook) available.
If you do find yourself in an emergency situation, remember to stay calm and act quickly. Remove the child from the water and call for emergency services immediately. If the child is not breathing, start CPR and continue until help arrives.
In conclusion, drowning is a preventable tragedy that can be avoided by taking the right precautions and safety measures. As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the risks of drowning and to take steps to protect your child around water. By supervising your child, using barriers, teaching your child to swim, using appropriate safety gear, teaching your child water safety rules, knowing CPR, and being prepared for emergencies, you can help prevent a tragedy and keep your child safe.
Remember, the key to water safety is to be vigilant and proactive. By staying informed and taking action, you can help ensure that your child stays safe and happy in and around water.
About The Author
Dr. Hannah is a highly-skilled and compassionate physician who completed her medical degree at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2014. She passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2015, and has since gained experience working in various hospitals and clinics throughout Metro Manila. For three years, she served as a physician on duty at a dialysis institute, caring for patients with chronic lifestyle diseases.
As a primary care physician, Dr. Hannah is dedicated to providing patient-centered care that takes into account the whole person, not just their illness. She believes in empowering her patients to take an active role in their healthcare, and believes that this type of doctor-patient relationship is key to achieving optimal health.