Pools, lakes, ponds, and beaches mean summer fun and cool relief from hot weather. But water also can be dangerous for kids if you don’t take the proper precautions. Nearly 1,000 kids die each year by drowning. And most drowning’s occur in home swimming pools. It is the second leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages of 5 and 24. Kids need constant supervision around water — whether the water is in a bathtub, a wading pool, an ornamental fish pond, a swimming pool, a spa, the beach, or a lake.
Invest in proper-fitting, Coast Guard-approved flotation devices (life vests) and use them whenever a child is near water. Check the weight and size recommendations on the label, then have your child try it on to make sure it fits snugly. For kids younger than 5 years old, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and head support — the collar will keep the child’s head up and face out of the water. Inflatable vests and arm devices such as water wings are not effective protection against drowning.
Teach your kids to follow all rules and directions, such as walking instead of running. Kids shouldn’t run or push around the pool and should never dive in areas that are not marked for diving. If the weather turns bad (especially if there’s lightning), they should get out of the pool immediately.
Water play can be a great source of fun and exercise. You’ll enjoy the water experience more by knowing and practicing safety precautions.