Water safety is especially important in the summertime, when beach and pool days and lake trips are abundant. Keep children and loved ones safe by heeding these essential water safety tips.
- Look for U.S. Coast Guard approved labels.
Lifejackets should have labels that read “US Coast Guard Approved” or “USCG approved,” otherwise you can assume they are not safe. As your child grows, their lifejacket should meet their new weight, and should be replaced when rips, tears, or fraying straps are present. And remember, any items filled with air (arm floaties, rafts) are not considered life saving devices.
- Assign adult, non-distracted Water Watchers.
At least one adult, non-distracted Water Watcher should be monitoring children in and around water at all times with no distractions (conversations, cell phone, reading, etc.). The Water Watcher should always be within reach and is usually safest in the pool with the children. For social gatherings, 10-15 minute Water Watcher shifts are recommended. And remember, if a child goes missing, always check the pool/water first.
- Take family CPR lessons.
Learning CPR can make a difference while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
- Schedule water safety & swim lessons.
Drownings and near-drownings are much more likely to occur with children that don’t know how to swim or are being supervised by adults that don’t know how to swim. While there are still risks with children who know how to swim, knowing how to and practicing proper water safety can significantly reduce the risks.
- Have a safety plan in place.
Whether you’re at the lake or the beach, you should implement a safety plan before anyone gets anywhere near the water. The “Toe In/Vest On” policy is recommended, which basically means that if a toe is in the water, a life jacket must be on.
- Know the water conditions.
Conditions in lakes and oceans can vary on a daily basis. From clear to murky and calm to rough waters, it’s important to know the conditions before getting in.
- Install four-sided fences with self-latching gates.
Implementing this safety mechanism could prevent 50-90% of childhood drowning and near-drowning accidents. The fence should at least be 4 feet (ideally 5 feet) high with a self-closing gate that only opens out. In addition, pool gates should have child proof locks and remain locked when the pool is not in use. If you have pool and/or spa covers, they should be strong enough to support the weight of multiple children. Any doggie doors that have direct access to the pool area should be rerouted as well.
- Create and follow all pool rules.
Your guest should understand your expectations about watching children in the water and abide by your pool rules. You may even consider creating a Water Watcher schedule so that non-distracted adult Water Watchers can work in 10-15 minute shifts.
- Use pool/door/child alarms.
Doors and windows that open directly to the pool area should be equipped with alarms. These alarms can alert you when children may be going outside to the pool. Furthermore, pool surface alarms can alert you when anyone or anything falls into the pool. For added security, you can even put an alarm on your child that is activated when they are submersed.
- Update pool drains and cleaning systems.
Pool drains and other cleaning equipment have powerful suction that could create a dangerous situation and should be avoided. Because swimsuit straps, hair, and other items can easily get caught, safety drain covers should be used as a prevention method.
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Summer Water Safety
Summer is here and water safety is a top priority. Review these water safety techniques to keep your beach, lake, and pool parties safe and fun!