Consider this: You are having a great family vacation at a beach house you have rented for the week. The house is beautiful, the weather is perfect, and the view of the in-ground pool is breathtaking. Your small children love to run, play, and explore. Your 5-year-old just spilled a whole cup a red Kool Aid on the carpet in the vacation home. Your attention will be turned away from watching your 2-year-old toddle around the back yard only for a second. You come back out from checking out the damage to the rug and there is no sign of the 2-year-old. Your breathtaking in-ground pool could very well be your worst nightmare.
All children should have layers of safety when in and around any body of water. It doesn't matter if you have a back-yard pool, local pond, community pool, or live a mile away from the water. Children are drawn to water wherever they go. They relate it to fun in the bathtub or playing with hose or sink. While we, as adults, know differently, the children are oblivious.
Here are a few ways to help increase your child’s safety during the summer:
- Always have a pool fence up and around your pool at all times.
- If you use door alarms, make sure they are working properly.
- Keep an eye out for older siblings who might leave a door open to the patio.
- Make sure your child has been warned about the dangers of being around water alone.
- Most important, give your child swim lessons and teach them self-rescue.
In 10 states -- Alaska, Arizona, Florida, California, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Washington -- drowning surpasses all other causes of death in children under the age of 14. Children ages 1 to 4 are most likely to drown in hot tubs, spas, or swimming pools, while ages 5 to 14 are most likely to drown in swimming pools or open bodies of water like lakes, rivers, dams, or canals. The numbers are staggering. Hoping that drowning prevention becomes a trend, like texting or iPods, is not likely. This is why it is up to us as parents to be vigilant in safeguarding our children for not only summer, but also year round.
After all, it is not the lack of supervision, but the lapse in supervision during which an accident can occur. NO child is “drown proof” and no lessons, alarms, or fences can make up for parental supervision.
Please have fun during the summer but, most important, be safe.