"Wait an hour after eating..."
Is this the only water safety rule your kids know? It shouldn't be.
Did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children under the age of 14? More than half of all child drownings occur in a home pool. Summer, especially, is a dangerous time for kids, with the rate of drowning deaths increasing 89 percent during summer months compared to the average monthly rate.
So whether you're at the beach, fishing on the lake or in the backyard pool, make sure your kids are supervised at all times when they are in or around water. Speak often with your kids about water safety and have them sign a water safety pledge. Also, be aware of the inherent dangers of any water situation, and teach your kids these important water safety rules:
- Never enter the water without getting permission first. Always make sure an adult is nearby watching.
- Never swim alone - try to always swim with a buddy.
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal safety device during all water sports, and in rivers, lakes and oceans - even if you know how to swim.
- Make sure your life jacket fits snugly and that your chin and ears can't slip through the neck opening.
- Do not rely on an inner tube or air raft to keep you afloat.
- Never jump or dive into water that is less than nine feet deep.
- Stay away from pool and hot tub drains.
- Tie back long hair to prevent it from getting tangled in drains or ladders.
- Know where the nearest phone is and dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
But the risk of drowning isn't limited to outdoors. Your home can be a dangerous place for children, who can drown in as little as one inch of water. This means that bath tubs, sinks, toilets, household buckets and diaper pails are all potential drowning risks for young children. It is estimated that each year 30 children drown in household buckets.
Parents, never turn away from a child in the tub, not even for a moment! Keeps toilets closed and use toilet locks around younger children. Empty buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use; store them upside down and out of children's reach.
While the risks surrounding water are high, keep in mind that accidental drowning is 100 percent preventable. Stay alert and regularly remind your children of water safety rules. Also, consider taking a class to become certified in infant and child CPR.