Never leave children alone near pools or other bodies of water unsupervised, even for a moment. Swimming knowledge or use of flotation devices cannot be considered a safe substitute for supervision.
Drowning does not look like it does on TV. Drowning people cannot lift their arms above water or make verbal noises after submersion. They are silent, will try to keep their mouths above water, are positioned horizontally and struggle to use their legs. Other telltale signs include: hair covering eyes, hyperventilating or gasping and the appearance of climbing an invisible latter.
Fences at least 60” tall should surround pools and have self-closing and self-latching gates. Pools should be covered when unused, and stray toys should not be left in or around the pool. A life-saving ring and a shepherd’s hook should always be kept near pools.
Make sure parents know shallow water still poses risks. A baby can drown in just one inch of water, so even small containers like bathtubs or buckets can be potential drowning sites. These containers should be kept completely empty when not in within eyesight of an adult.
Drowning_0713 Swim Lesson
Giving a child swimming lessons teaches useful skills that may aid in his/her or another child’s survival, but does not preclude the need for adult supervision when children are swimming.
Whenever people are swimming or playing in water, there should be a designated watcher. Emphasize the importance of educating babysitters about swimming pool hazards.
Supervisors should keep a phone by the pool so leaving the area to take a call unnecessary, and so emergency services can be contacted quickly if needed.
CPR can be the difference between life and death. Being trained and up-to-date on proper technique is another essential for water safety. All caregivers should be prepared to administer CPR and instructional manuals should be kept readily available.
The onset of summer comes with increased water activity across the country. But going for a dip is not all fun and games, especially when children are involved — drowning is the second most prevalent cause of accidental death in children and about half of these deaths occur within 25 yards of a parent or adult. As Americans jump in pools, lakes, rivers and oceans to cool off from the seasonal heat, make sure your patients are educated about the potential hazards of swimming and how to prevent them.
View these tips and others in our water safety slideshow.