The warm summer months here in Texas bring some serious heat and the idea of hanging out all day poolside, splashing at the lake, or even jumping and splashing in the waves at the beach are on most everyone’s mind. While summertime water fun brings about great joy to so many families with children, it is also important to freshen up on some water safety reminders to keep your precious cargo safe in the water.
Recently while watching the local news, I was reminded just how quickly a day of fun in the sun can lead to our worst fear. With close to 800 drowning deaths each year in the United States it is no wonder why this topic is so important. We have researched some common misconceptions that parents can make about water safety to ensure that swimming is only remembered as an enjoyable experience. SInce ⅔ of the drownings nationally occur between the months of May and August now is the time to act.
Common misconception parents have it that if a child is drowning and “in trouble” in the water that they will hear that and be able to intervene quickly. This simply is not the case. Children most often jump in and their body lowers in the water making little to no noise. In a recent survey, many parents admitted to leaving their child alone in the pool or a minute or two and not thinking anything could happen that quickly. Please know that drowning can happen in a matter of seconds and have a devastating effect on a child’s body- even if they are able to breathe again.
So what are some ways to prevent your child from drowning? Keep an eye on your younger kids at all times. The statistics show that 54% of all children who drown are ages 4 and under and most often occur in swimming pools. If you have a smaller child, the best way to prevent drowning is to watch your child 100% of the time. Even with life jackets and bodysuits with flotation devices your child can drown. The jackets often turn a small child over on their stomach and young children lack the strength to turn over. Don’t be distracted by technology devices, phones, older children needing something, or even a restroom break. Take younger children with you when you leave the pool.
Older children are at risk of drowning as well, especially in natural water including lakes, creeks, and rivers. Make sure children have proper breaks as they are out in the water to prevent fatigue and to ensure proper hydration. Swimming lessons can also be helpful for children of all ages but especially for children swimming in open water who will need increased stamina and endurance to make it back to land.
Here at Stepping Stones, we know how much fun swimming can be. We believe in the value of creating summer pool memories so much that we have a swimming pool at our sister school. In order to create a safe water play environment, we offer swimming lessons to teach students the basics of the water, we hire certified lifeguards to supervise the pool during swim times, train our staff on best practices with water safety, and require each student who swims to pass a swim test in order to swim without a life jacket. Keeping kids safe in the water is of the utmost importance to us- nothing is worth losing a child over.