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Keeping Our Children Safe Around Water

May 22, 2015

With summer days at the pool on the horizon, I am honored to have Meg Kevane from Goldfish Swim School sharing her knowledge about water safety. Please read and share these reminders about keeping our children safe around water. 

keeping kids safe around water

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes long days at the pool, beach vacations to the shore and family boat excursions. We all look forward to the summer, but as we inevitably spend more time in and around the water with our kids, it is vital to keep water safety top of mind. We have all heard the heartbreaking stories of children drowning in a local swimming pool surrounded by watching adults or a toddler drowning in a small amount of water in a bathtub. When it comes to water safety, awareness goes a long way. Here are some important statistics and preventative measures that every family should know as we head into the summer months:

  • From 2005-2009, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day.
  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children, ages 14 and younger.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14.
  • Thousands of children are hospitalized each year for non-fatal drowning incidents. Many sustain life-long, profound, permanent brain damage.
  • A child can drown in as little as one inch of water, in as little time as 20 seconds.
  • Most drownings occur in May, June, July and August.

May is Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Month, and it is our job as mothers, fathers and community members to protect our children and spread the word about water safety. It’s truly every parent’s worst nightmare, but there are ways to drastically reduce the odds.

The most important factor in keeping kids safe around water is without a doubt constant adult supervision. Never assume someone else is watching your child. Watch children around any water environment (pool, lake, ocean, tub, toilet, bucket of water) no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water. Particularly for young children, be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while supervising children in or around water.

Parents should also keep these additional water safety guidelines in mind:

Wear your life jacket!
Act. Throw! Don’t go.
Take swimming lessons.
Educate: Learn swim safety skills.
Respect: Play it cool and follow the rules.

keeping kids safe around water

Wear your life jacket!
One of the easiest ways to increase safety in the water is to wear a life jacket. There are plenty of different types of life jackets to fit all sizes — and children should wear child-sized life jackets and not adult ones, which won’t fit properly. Life jackets help to keep your head above water so you can continue to breathe properly in case continuing to swim isn’t feasible (muscle cramp, injury, tiredness, etc.). Keep in mind that the use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision.

Act: Throw! Don’t go.
Do your kids know what to do in a swimming emergency? They should ACT! Their first instinct may be to go toward a person having trouble in the water. Instead, Goldfish Swim School Fort Washington teaches kids to THROW a life preserver to someone in trouble — and DON’T GO! That way, they aren’t putting themselves in jeopardy as well and are truly able to help.

Take swimming lessons.
Knowing how to swim provides so many benefits to kids – but it is an extremely valuable life skill because it teaches kids how to take care of themselves should they accidentally end up in trouble in the water. Experts recommend regular swim instruction by highly trained instructors following a proven curriculum so that kids learn basic water safety skills.

Educate: Learn swim safety skills.
Swimming is fun, but it’s important that kids learn how to be safe in and around the pool. Goldfish Swim School Fort Washington teaches a plethora of swim skills, especially focusing on the Top 5 Things All Kids Should Know How to Do in the Water to keep kids safe while they’re having fun.

Respect: Play it cool and follow the rules.
Rules are there for a reason — especially when it comes to rules for the pool. Walk, don’t run around the pool; make sure an adult is watching; no horseplay. Have fun out there – but keep it safe!

Meg Kevane is a mother of three and the owner of Goldfish Swim School Fort Washington. Conveniently located at 185 Commerce Drive in Fort Washington, Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years-old in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student to teacher ratio), warm 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. In addition to swim lessons, Goldfish Swim School Fort Washington also offers weekly family swims (for both members and non-members) and birthday party packages. For more information or to enroll your child in lessons, visit the website or call 215/220-3828.

  • Sarah Hughes
    May 26, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Such a necessary and important post!! We started back at our swim club this weekend and I am like a mama hawk there!!

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