Learn how to prevent accidents around pools, lakes, rivers and oceans — even in your own bathtub — when one adult is designated the Water Watcher.
Kids can’t wait for summer. However, along with school vacation, warm weather and outdoor sports comes an extra dose of responsibility for parents. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 in the United States. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta advises adults to take precautions so their kids can have a fun and safe summer vacation.
Water Wisdom: Constant Supervision is Key
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death of children age 14 and under, taking the lives of nearly 900 children each year. Most occur in swimming pools, but lakes, rivers and oceans can also be dangerous. Children playing in smaller bodies of water, such as wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, toilets, spas and hot tubs should also be supervised.
CHOA is partnering to encourage parents to become “Water Watchers” this summer. Although many parents are nearby when their children are in or around the water, most do not devote 100 percent of their attention to supervising playtime.
Recent research by Johnson & Johnson shows that 88 percent of children who drowned were under adult supervision and that parents are overconfident about their children’s safety and abilities around water. Because drowning can occur silently and in a matter of seconds, at least one parent or adult should always be a completely focused “Water Watcher,” dedicated to monitoring children playing in the water.
In addition to constant supervision, parents should also keep in mind the following water safety tips:
• Practice “touch supervision” by keeping children within reasonable reach at all times. It is especially vital to keep children in baby bath seats and rings within arm's reach. Because drownings often occur silently, “touch supervision” can save lives.
• Don’t be over-confident of your child’s swimming abilities, even if they have completed swimming courses.
• Be aware of which of your child's friends and neighbors have pools. Make sure your child will be constantly supervised by an adult while visiting.
• Tell children never to run, push or jump on others around water.
• Eliminate all potential drowning hazards such as empty buckets, large containers and wading pools. Keep toilet lids shut and use toilet locks.
• Make sure children swim only in designated safe areas of rivers, lakes and oceans. Outfit children in a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal safety device around oceans, rivers, lakes or when participating in water sports. “Water wings” or inflatable tubes do not replace life jackets. Georgia law requires children under 10 to wear an appropriately sized flotation device when on a boat or personal watercraft.
• Install four-sided fencing at least five feet high that completely surrounds all pools, spas, whirlpools and hot tubs to prevent direct access from the house or yard. Make sure the fence has self-closing and self-latching gates.
• Keep rescue equipment, a telephone and emergency numbers by the pool.
• Teach children to never dive into a river, lake, ocean or water less than nine feet deep.
• Never allow children age 14 and under to operate a personal watercraft.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the leading pediatric healthcare systems in the country, is pleased to offer summer tips for parents and their children.
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