Rising temperatures and sunny days mean many Californians seek out cooler spots like lakes and pools to spend the summertime. According to the Centers for Disease Control, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years.
First 5 Contra Costa would like to remind parents about steps they should take to make sure their child stays safe in, out, and around pools and water:
Watch your children constantly around water. Never turn your back, even for a moment. Children can drown in as little at one inch of water.
Identify all water hazards. Don’t leave water in buckets where children can reach them. Keep lids to toilets closed.
Fence your pool on all four sides with a barrier that is at least 5 feet high. Move lawn chairs, tables and other potential climbing aids away from the fence to help keep children out.
At large gatherings, designate an adult to watch children at play, and while in the pool.
While cute, flotation devices can’t always keep your child safe. Inflatable toys or swimming aids can become dangerous when they suddenly shift position, lose air or slip out from underneath.
Check for water depth and underwater hazards prior to letting your child dive.
Swim at beaches without large waves or powerful undertow. Check to make sure lifeguards are nearby. Be careful around rivers. Fast moving undercurrents can still appear as calm surface water.
When on boats, have your child wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest at all times.
To prepare for water emergencies, parents and caregivers should complete a CPR course, focusing on rescue techniques for infants and children.
Enroll your child in swimming or water safety courses. Children with early swimming experiences are better equipped to handle water emergencies. (Even if your child has had lessons, adults should still always supervise when children are in or near water.)
Keep a list of emergency numbers like your child’s pediatrician and local paramedics handy and visible in your home.
While these tips will not guarantee your child’s safety around water at all times, they will help parents be more prepared for an emergency and more capable of identifying potential problems. Nothing can ensure a child’s safety more than a parent’s careful eye and constant attention.
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