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Summer swimming safety tips you need to know

  • Category: Parenting
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Summer swimming safety tips you need to know

There’s no better way to cool off from sweltering Louisiana summers than a dip in a pool or a lake. It’s always good to keep an eye out for alligators or other creepy-crawlies, especially if you’re heading out of the city for a weekend. The biggest swimming safety risk is not being bitten by an animal or insect; it’s drowning.

Swimming safety for toddlers is especially important. Did you know drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids under four, after birth defects? For children younger than 14, drowning is the second cause of accidental death after car accidents. Adults are at risk of drowning, too, especially if alcohol is involved. Don’t risk the lives of any of your loved ones this summer. Practice these swimming safety tips from LCMC Health, so you won’t end up in our emergency rooms.

Always, always have someone watching

The most important swimming safety rule for toddlers and kids is to always have a designated sober adult—a water watcher—paying attention to children who are swimming. Drowning can happen in a blink of an eye. Follow these do’s and don’ts before swimming and while children are in the water.

  • If any child in the water is younger than 5, a parent or trusted sober adult should be within arm’s reach at all times, even if there’s a lifeguard.
  • If only one adult is supervising children and needs to step away for a minute, get the kids out of the pool.
  • Put down the phone and turn down the music if you’re the water watcher. You need all your senses alert to detect if something has gone wrong.
  • Don’t rely on flotation devices to ensure safety for kids, especially if they aren’t strong swimmers or are in open water.

6 more swimming safety tips

  1. Know the water hazards where you are swimming. Different types of water mean different risk factors. Boat wakes can be dangerous at lakes, and riptides can pull even strong swimmers away from the shore into the open water.
  2. Don’t drink and swim (or boat or dive). Even if no kids are around, alcohol and water are a dangerous combination. Stay on the deck or the dock if you’re planning to imbibe.
  3. Don’t leave dirty diapers on babies and toddlers. Even traces of poop in the pool can make other people sick. (When your child has diarrhea, stay home.)
  4. Dress for the occasion. Swimming safety gear goes beyond flotation devices. Wear water-safe shoes that won’t slip or skid at the pool and keep them on your feet when at the lake or in other water where you can’t see what you might be stepping on.
  5. Get your kids involved. Rehearse swimming safety slogans like, “Look before you dive,” “Never swim alone” and “Feet down, heads up” (when jumping into a pool or lake).
  6. Use swimming safety equipment, such as life jackets or swimming safety buoys, to help reduce the risk of drowning when in open water.

Prepare for swimming safety success

Simple, affordable preparations can make all the difference when it comes to preventing and treating swimming injuries.

  • Hydration isn’t just for the pool. Make sure everyone has lots of fresh water and healthy snacks, such as apple or watermelon slices, that also provide hydration.
  • Keep a basic first aid kit on hand for cuts and scrapes.
  • Take CPR and first aid classes in addition to swim classes. Older kids may want to go through lifeguard certification to better supervise younger siblings.
  • Use over-the-counter pH test strips to check chlorine levels in public or home pools to make sure they are high enough to kill bacteria.
  • You can never have too much high-SPF water-resistant sunscreen. Reapply frequently to every member of the family.

If a suspected drowning or other severe injury happens, call 911 immediately.

If a swimming accident happens to your child, knowing the proper CPR technique could save a life. Sign up for our infant and child CPR training today.