Summer is around the corner! I'm hoping the May Gray and June Gloom don't interfere with my most favorite time of the year.
This is a great time to start thinking ahead about water safety. Those who have taken my CPR class know the importance of prevention! Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding emergency situations with young children.
I chatted with Lisa Cook of KidSwim LA and she provided a few of her top water safety tips for me to share with you! One additional tip I would like to add for beach-goers is to sit close to a lifeguard station when you are at the beach with young kids. If there is an emergency help will be close by.
Swim safety tips from Lisa Cook, KidSwim & Author of See Me Bubble:
1) Water safety is definitely something that happens in stages and by degrees, becoming more strongly etched in your child’s mind as they grow and mature. I always tell parents to be conservative in your estimates of how safe your child is until age 8 or older. And definitely in group settings where chaos can occur, make sure someone is always designated as the ‘water watcher’ with eyes on the child(ren) at all times. Often, accidents happen when no one really knew who was watching the children in the pool.
2) Active watching vs passive watching - active watching is sitting on the side of the pool, no phone, magazine or other distractions. You can engage in conversation however you should not be turned to face away from the water - it can happen in a split second, even if you’re standing right there. Also if there are more than 2 or 3 children in the pool, always count heads and keep large floating rafts or toys out of the pool. Nothing should obscure your vision from seeing every child. Passive watching is when children are older and more capable - you can sit in a lounge chair, read a magazine, talk on the phone, etc. but you still need to be present and glancing up to do a head count at random times. I cannot tell you at what age/stage this is appropriate for you as every situation can be different, but typically children older than 8 or 9 can handle passive watching, as long as there aren’t more than 2 or 3 in the pool at one time.
3) Any time your child will have a playdate at someone’s house for the first time and it is a drop off you will want to ask if they have a pool, if it's gated or covered and what the rules are about swimming in that house. Be very clear about your rules and what is and isn’t okay with you. If you feel uncomfortable about their hands off approach, suggest the playdate happen at your house or the park instead.
Thank you, Lisa Cook & kidSwim! Lisa and I will also be hosting a Safety Class at Spanish in Action in Manhattan Beach on Tuesday, June 4th at 9:00am. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
Lisa Grossman, RN, BSN, PHN, OCN, CLC, CLEC