Keeping Kids Safe

Kids need constant supervision around water — whether the water is in a bathtub, a wading pool, an ornamental fish pond, a swimming pool, a spa, the beach, or a lake.

Young children are especially vulnerable — they can drown in less than 2 inches (6 centimeters) of water. That means drowning can happen where you’d least expect it — the sink, the toilet bowl, fountains, buckets, inflatable pools, or small bodies of standing water around your home, such as ditches filled with rainwater. Always watch children closely when they’re in or near any water.

If you don’t already, it’s a good idea to learn how to swim, and kids older than 4 years should learn, too (check the local recreation center for classes taught by qualified instructors). Kids who are younger (but older than age 1) also might benefit from swimming lessons, but check with your doctor first.

Don’t assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning. All kids need to be supervised in the water, no matter what their swimming skill levels. Infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision.”

Don’t forget the sunscreen and reapply often, especially if the kids are getting wet. UV sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing also can help provide sun protection.

Kids should drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to prevent dehydration. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the sun, especially when kids are active and sweating. Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, or nausea are just some of the signs of dehydration and overheating.

Water play can be a great source of fun and exercise. You’ll enjoy the water experience more by knowing and practicing these safety precautions.

*Excerpts taken from “Water Safety”, reviewed by Yamini Durani, MD. www.kidshealth.org – Kids Health