Monday, April 22, 2013

Water Safety tips

What are the hazards for children of being around water?

Water is hazardous for young children. In fact, as much fun as water can be, it's dangerous no matter where you find it – in a bucket, bowl, toilet, tub, sink, puddle, pool, or elsewhere. Parents can avoid tragedy by remembering that a baby or toddler can drown in less than an inch of water.

The best way to protect your child from accidental drowning is to remove even the smallest source of water from her play area, and if water is present, don't take your eyes off her for a minute. If you're at a pool or beach, it's fine to let her splash and play to her heart's content – as long as you're watching and within arms' reach.

What about water safety in the bathtub?

There are several things to remember when bathing your child, but the most important is to never leave your child unattended in a bathtub, even for a minute. If the phone rings and you must answer it, wrap him in a towel and take him with you.
  • Cover the tub surface with a rubber suction mat to prevent slipping and only fill the tub with 3 to 4 inches of warm water. Support your baby's back at all times if he can't sit up securely on his own. Put a soft cover over the faucet so he doesn't hurt his head if he bumps into it.
  • Check the water temperature with your hand before putting your baby in the tub.
  • Keep the temperature of the water from the faucet less than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding. Adjust your water heater if necessary.
  • Don't allow your child to drink the bathwater or submerge his eyes and head. The soap and shampoos could irritate his eyes and intestinal tract.
  • Keep the toilet lid and bathroom door closed when not in use, or get a lid lock for the toilet.

When is it safe to bring my child to a pool or lake?

You may want to wait to go to a pool or lake with your child until she can hold her head up on her own (usually by 4 or 5 months). If your child is old enough to go into the water with you, follow these seven water safety steps:
  • Take an infant/child CPR course.
  • Update your pool or spa drain with an anti-entrapment drain cover or other drain safety system, such as an automatic pump shut off. Pool drains have been named one of the top five hidden home hazards by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The suction from a pool drain can be strong enough to hold even an adult underwater, pulling on the hair or on the body and forming a seal. Missing or faulty covers often cause the problem – and an upgrade may save a life.
  • Make sure the water is warm enough, preferably between 85 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit. This is especially important for infants who can get hypothermia when exposed to water below 85 degrees.
  • Pool water should be properly chlorinated, and natural bodies of water should be unpolluted and safe for wading. Also, it's best not to let your child swim in a public pool or lake until she's potty trained. But if you choose to let her take a dip, have her wear a swim diaper and change it frequently.
  • Don't put a baby under the water. Although infants naturally hold their breath under water, they continue to swallow.
  • If you have a plastic wading pool, drain it and store it in an upright position after each use. If you have a permanent pool, make sure it's enclosed with a fence that's at least 4 feet high and install a self-closing, self-latching gate that opens away from the pool. After swimming, remove any toys from the water and deck, and make sure there's nothing your child can climb on to get over your pool's fence. Always lock the gate leading to the pool after each use.
  • Make sure the pool or lake is equipped with rescue equipment and a readily accessible phone for emergencies, or take your cell phone to the pool in case of emergency. If you're at home, take the cordless outside so you won't be tempted to run into the house to grab a call.

When can my child start taking swimming lessons?

There's no substitute for adult supervision when it comes to pool safety.  swimming lessons can't be relied on to protect your child.
That said, kids may not be developmentally ready for swim lessons until they turn 4. Deciding whether or not to enroll your child in lessons should be based on how often your child's around water, his emotional development, and his physical abilities.
As soon as you start bringing your child into the water, begin conveying simple water safety rules such as:
  • Don't go near water without an adult.
  • Never push another child under the water.
  • Don't run on the pool deck or boat dock.
  • Always jump in feet first.
Even children who aren't talking yet understand a lot more than they let on. One day your child will surprise you by repeating an oft-heard safety phrase, and as he gets older and really learns to swim, he'll be familiar with the basics of water safety.