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Teaching children water safety is a key part of reducing child drownings. In Florida, drownings are one of the leading causes of child deaths.
While swimming can be fun, it’s important for young children to know that the fun can’t begin until a “Water Watcher” is present. Once an adult is watching, summer swimming fun can start. Drowning can happen quickly and quietly, which is why actively watching your swimmer is a necessity. Even after the summer months, make sure your child knows never to go near the water alone and to always have a swimming partner. Prevent unsupervised water access by installing barriers around your pool or hot tub and remove any pool toys that could attract children to the water.
Life jackets should always be worn while in a boat, raft, inner tube or on a dock. If a child cannot swim or is an inexperienced swimmer, life jackets should always be utilized while in the water. Life jackets should be properly fitted in order to keep your child’s head and face above water. Remember, life jackets only work when they are worn, so make sure your child gets in the routine of putting one on every time they get near the water. Important: As fun as water wings and inflatable toys may be, they don’t provide the same support as a U.S. Coastguard-approved life jacket.
Swimming lessons have been shown to reduce drowning incidents, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 4 and older learn to swim. Even if your child has taken swimming lessons, never assume that their risk of drowning has subsided. Always be cautious of pool floats or toys that could interfere with your child in the water. Learning how to swim should be a fun activity, promoting aquatic awareness and minimizing intimidation. To find swimming lessons in your area, contact your local YMCA, American Red Cross, American Heart Association, city facilities, or swim school.
Although a child may have had swimming lessons or is utilizing a life jacket, sometimes water accidents do happen. Make sure your child knows to call for help or find an adult when trouble occurs. When watching a child swim, always make sure to have a cordless phone nearby in order to call 911 if a dangerous situation arises. Stress the importance of staying away from pool drains and suction fittings in order to have a fun, safe swimming experience.
Help your child learn what to do (and not to do) in and around pools and spas with a free interactive app; “The Adventures of Splish & Splash”. Available for download on Apple and Android devices from the App Store or Google Play:
Please click here to read the original article and access many resources for parents, caregivers and teachers. You will find coloring and activity sheets, videos, puppet shows and more!
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Want to watch two watch water safety videos with your child to watch? Please click here and here!
Click here to watch an important video on summer safety and heat health.
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