It's Summer! It's Hot! And you are headed to the beach .... here are some pointers we'd like for you to keep in mind if you have kids in tow...
Pools, ponds, and beaches mean summer fun and cool relief from the Indian summer. But water also can be dangerous for kids if parents don't take the proper precautions. Nearly 1,000 kids die each year by drowning. And most drownings happen in swimming pools. It is the second leading cause of accidental death for people between the ages of 5 and 24.
The good news is there are many ways to keep your kids safe in the water — and make sure that they take the right precautions when they're on their own.
Keeping Kids Safe
Kids need constant supervision around water — whether the water is in a bathtub, a wading pool, a swimming pool, a spa, the beach, or a lake. Always watch children closely when they're in or near any water.
If you're not a swimmer yourself, it's a good idea to take lessons and learn how to swim. And kids over 4 years old should learn, too (check the local pool or club for classes taught by qualified instructors). Kids who are younger (but older than age 1) also might benefit from swimming lessons, but check with your doctor first.
Weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm's reach to provide "touch supervision."
Invest in proper-fitting flotation devices (life vests) and have kids wear them whenever 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. Other flotation aids are also important and keep them handy.
Don't forget the sunscreen and reapply often, especially if the kids are getting wet. UV sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing also can help provide sun protection.
Kids should drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to prevent dehydration. It's easy to get dehydrated in the sun, especially when kids are active and sweating. Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, or nausea are just some of the signs of dehydration and overheating.