Per the CDC (Center of Disease Control), drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. Among the top risk factors for drowning are being of male gender (80% of drowning victims are male), lack of swimming ability, not wearing a life jacket, and alcohol/substance abuse.
Summer is fast approaching and living in Texas we can experience extreme temperatures. My entire family enjoys water activities and going swimming in the dark every now and then in the summer. Water safety is a big topic in not only my house, but among other mom friends, so here are some tips to make everyone feel better and more prepared as we splash into summer!
- Never swim alone. Being a mom of more than 1 child, that usually isn’t difficult for my family, but if you have an only child, or are planning to just take 1 child I recommend having a friend or someone else there if you are not planning to get into the pool with your child. This allows for accountability as well as an extra set of eyes to get help if needed. As we all know and have heard, drowning happens very quickly.
- Know your child’s limits. We do swimming lessons every year until our kids are at least moderate, if not a strong swimmer. It’s just another resource we use each summer to remind the kids the importance of water safety from someone else other than mom and dad. It also gives them more concentrated time to develop their swimming skills. And who doesn’t like a good reason to celebrate once the lessons are completed!
- Know CPR. I think it’s a great idea for all parents to get a refresh or learn CPR. You never know when you may need it.
- Put away distractions and designate who is responsible for watching the kids swim. In the summer we all like to get together in larger groups of people for a pool party on occasion. These are the times I feel the least comfortable because people assume that the more people there are, the more eyes watching, but the reality is that many times this leaves people distracted and not paying attention at all. While taking pictures is fun and can be done quickly, I don’t recommend this time to catch up on emails or scroll through social media. It’s a good idea to designate the person or people responsible and switch off from time to time if needed.
Many people think that they will hear something if there is an issue or someone is drowning, but the reality is that it’s often very quiet and happens in a blink of an eye. Another misconception is that once kids know how to swim, they don’t need a life jacket. Even my older kids use them from time to time if we are spending all day at the pool and certainly at a lake or larger body of water. Kids still get tired and often don’t want to slow down or miss time with their friends/family. It’s a good idea to take breaks and have life jackets available even for the strong swimmers.
It’s never too late to learn how to swim safely and reminders each summer for even the strong swimmers is a good habit to have both for the kids and for adults. Following the basic water safety rules and guidelines will allow your whole family to enjoy themselves even more this summer!