Water Safety

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When the weather is right, it's time for having fun in the sun and that usually includes swimming, boating, and other fun activities involving water. Like most fun things there are a few dangers involved, but with the right knowledge, equipment and understanding of safety you can protect your child.

Remember that any body of water is dangerous. It can be as little as 2 inches deep and a toddler can fall in it and drown. Never allow children to play near any body of water unsupervised. In addition, if you are at a pool party and there are adults drinking, be the one adult who refuses to drink and keep a keen eye on the children. Remember, drowning doesn't always look like drowning and you have to be super aware to avoid any problems.

Basic Safety
Children who can swim still need life preservers when boating. But, around a supervised pool, children who can swim can do so without a safety vest. Little children who cannot swim need to wear a safety vest at all times around any pool, river or lake. And of course, they should always be supervised.

Pool Rules
Most public pools have a list of rules such as no unsupervised children under the age of 12 or 13. However, it's probably a good idea if no child ever swims unsupervised, and older teenagers should always have a buddy with them. You never know when something can happen to cause a problem, and drowning happens fast. So, follow the rules, but use some common sense to ensure your child's safety.

Drowning
The thing about drowning is that it doesn't always look like drowning. Unfortunately, more public areas are doing without lifeguards, relying on parents to protect their children. But an untrained parent can miss the signs of drowning. People who are drowning don't thrash around and yell like you might think. Instead they get quiet, and cannot yell for help. Children have been known to drown right by their parents who watched them do it. It's important to learn the signs of drowning such as:
  • Water at mouth level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Unfocused eyes
  • Closed eyes
  • Hair in the eyes
  • Swimmer appears vertical
  • Gasping
  • Hyperventilating
  • Trying to swim
  • Trying to roll over
  • Seems to be trying to climb
Here is a video to watch to see how this looks. It's called the Instinctive Drowning Response. It's important to understand what it looks like it. As you see, it doesn't really look as bad as you think. The most you have is about 60 seconds to save them. As the video states, it can look like they're doggie paddling, when in fact they are drowning.
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1mVcSUttX4

You can prevent drowning accidents by paying attention at all times. Don't allow children to go to deep in the water when they're not experienced and strong swimmers, put life vests on children, and never allow anyone - child or adult - to swim alone unsupervised. Even with the best precautions, drowning can occur.

Water Safety

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