In order to keep swimming fun and safe it is important to be very careful when children are swimming. Here are some tips and facts about water safety:
- Summer fun includes swimming at the pool or beach. In order to prevent a tragedy, never leave children alone in or near the pool, or beach, even for a second.
- When it comes to pool safety, remember that teaching your child to swim does not mean that your child is safe in the water. So even if your child has taken swimming lessons…you should still never leave him/her alone in the pool or at the beach.
- At the pool or beach, make sure that anyone watching your children knows CPR and is able to rescue a child if needed. Also it is important to keep all rescue equipment by the pool at all times.
- In general swimming lessons are not recommended for children less than 3 years of age, as parents may develop a false sense of security because they think their child can swim. Also young children often swallow the pool water which may be dirty resulting in a higher risk of getting sick.
- When boating or canoeing, remember that every passenger should always be wearing a life jacket, even if they are good swimmers.
- Never let your child water ski, snorkel or scuba dive without instructions and supervision from a qualified instructor or teacher.
- Other than pools and the beach other water hazards found near or in your home include ditches, post holes, wells, fish ponds and fountains, pails. bath tubs and toilets. Parents should be aware that these pose a drowning threat to young unattended children and they need to watch their children closely if playing near any of these areas.
- Children should never swim around anchored boats in motor boat lanes or where people are water skiing. Also they should never swim during electrical storms.
- When buying a life jacket for your child, make sure that it is the right size. The jacket should be snug and not loose, and be worn as per the instructions with all the straps belted properly.
- In order to avoid spinal injuries from diving, swimmers should not dive in shallow areas of lakes, ponds, beaches streams or pools where the depth of the water is not known. Also, do not dive into above ground pools.
- Keep all electrical appliances away from the pool. In order to prevent electrical shock during swimming.
- The pool or hot tub should have a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate. The fence should be at least 4 feet high and difficult to climb.
- Do not allow tricycles, bicycles or other toys on wheels around the pool area.
- Do not think of floatie(inflatable) toys as life jackets. Floaties are not approved life jackets and can give children a false sense of security.
- To avoid spread of infection, all pools, should be adequately chlorinated. Swimming in pools without adequate chlorinating, makes it easier for a bacterial infection to spread.
- After pool use, remove all toys from the so children are not tempted to try to reach them, and secure the pool so they cannot get back into it.
Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.