Always supervise children closely around water. Photo credit, Marie Arick
Do you have firm water safety practices? Are you a strong swimmer? Do you know Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)?
Each May, as the temperature rises, the gravitation to fun outdoor water activities begins. Numerous partners, including the American Red Cross and National Recreation and Park Association, promote Water Safety Month each May.
Encouraging conversations regarding water safety and swimming rules is just part of the resources provided to the public. Promotion of swimming lessons and the use of life jackets as well as basic CPR training is also encouraged. “Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children ages 1-4 years,” according to the Florida Department of Health. The USA Swimming Foundation states “no child is ever water safe,” rather, they promote swimming lessons to aid in making a child safer in the water. Children should always be supervised by CPR-trained and strong swimming adults while playing in or around water. If you are not a strong swimmer, ask another adult that is to accompany you.
As the supervising adult, create a set of water safety rules and enforce them. NO EXCEPTIONS! Educate yourself and children regarding water safety and do not allow horseplay. If children are not strong swimmers, have them wear a swim vest and request they stay in an area close to you for additional ease of supervision. If you, as the adult, need a bathroom break, everyone needs a bathroom break, meaning everyone exits the pool/water area and no one is left behind. Learn basic CPR and keep a cell phone available to call for help if necessary. Never assume other people are watching as well.
Being proactive can prevent a tragedy. Remember, the basics of water safety and having a plan can be lifesaving. Establish your water activity rules, review them prior to each outing, enforce them, and enjoy a safe summer full of fun water.