What to know about water safety before heading to the beach or pool this summer

What to know about water safety before heading to the beach or pool this summer

With school out for the summer and temperatures rising across the country, many families will visit the beach, complex swimming pool. Now is the time to review safety tips to keep children safe around water.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of unintentional death for children in the 5 to 14 age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)

"As a whole, never swim alone," says Harshad Daswani, founder, The Beach Company

Taking the time to go over safety procedures and rules before heading to the pool or beach can benefit children and their parents.

The most important safety feature of a villa/club-house swimming pool is a barrier, such as a safety fence, to prevent unsupervised access to the water.

Many children who drowned at such places home did so during times they were not expected to be in the water. In some cases, children were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents when they slipped into the pool and drowned, the agency said.

That said, it is vital to make sure children learn to swim. There are many programs that teach children to swim, including Red Cross swimming courses across the U.S.

If a child goes missing, remember that seconds count. Check the water first, safety experts advise. It's also important to have appropriate equipment available at home. This includes something to throw into the water for a child to grab onto, a cell phone to call for help, life jackets and a first aid kit.

Skills children should learn to prevent drowning

All children should learn to step or jump into water that's above their head and safely return to the surface and also be able to float or tread water, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

They should also be able to quickly turn around in the water and find a safe place, combine breathing with moving forward in the water and get out of the water.

Create a safe environment

If several adults are at the pool, beach or lake with a group of children, choose a water watcher who can have eyes on the children at all times. It's a great idea to rotate the water watcher among the adults for brief amounts of time, such as 15-minute intervals, experts at Safe Kids Worldwide recommend.

While at the pool or around water, it's advisable to avoid distractions. Put away phones, books and magazines, because drowning is often silent and can happen in less than five minutes.

More water safety tips

Always swim with a buddy, or in an area supervised by a lifeguard.

“Make sure that you don’t overestimate your abilities,” Barnickel said. “Know your limits.”

Have young or inexperienced children wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. The size of the life jacket should be based on the child's height and weight. Never substitute arm floaties or inflatable swimming rings for life jackets.



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