Water offers immense fascination in a child’s world. The curious little minds seek thrills and enjoyment in every aspect and hence make them vulnerable to accidents. Unlike us adults children lack the ability to recognize danger.
Much serious causality occurs in swimming pools alone. Thus it becomes extremely important to accompany, guide and educate the child regarding the different situations that would be potentially hazardous while swimming. Cultivating a sense of awareness about swimming safety will make your little one more confident and competent.
Fun family time whether it is in a swimming pool or natural water bodies or even in bath tubs or spa are definitely full of fun but at the same time any negligence can lead to fatal accidents which can be easily avoided. Below are a few preventive measures that can help your baby and you having a fun filled water play. A child big or small needs continuous supervision while in water, especially younger children, who are more vulnerable as it takes less than 6 cms or 2 inches of water to cause drowning.
Safety for Starters
Always accompany your child during visits to swimming pools; never leave the child unattended during the swimming sessions. Always supervise you child when around the pool areas as most of the casualties occur by the child accidentally falling into the pool. Maintaining a constant eye content with your child will insure better supervision.
In social gatherings and occasions at places having a pool, we often assume that the children will be watched by someone or the other but assuming that can jeopardize your child’s life. Hence during such situations maintain close proximity to your child. Always talk to your child about the dos and don’ts when near any water body, big or small.
There are various recreation centers that offer swimming classes by professional and qualified instructors. Children that know swimming are less prone to drowning, but they too need constant supervision. Hence giving them swimming classes is really important and come first on the swimming safety list. Children below the age of four must consult a doctor before taking any classes to insure that all the necessary immunizations have been taken and if the child is healthy enough to take swimming classes. “Touch Supervision” should be provided to weak swimmers, toddlers or infants and an adult must always be within an arm’s reach while in water.
Proper swimming gear is also an essential part in safety while swimming and investing in a good-fitting flotation device which has to be Coast Guard approved will be of added advantage. Flotation devices should always be purchased considering the size and weight of the child making sure that they fit perfectly around the child’s body. A vest with straps is recommended for younger children as they can slip through the flotation device which can be of a concern.
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These vests come with support straps for the head and between the legs and a collar that helps in keeping the child head and face above the water. Other inflatable flotation devices such as arm devises or inflatable vests are considered less effective against drowning and hence should be avoided. You can even buy colorful air tubes which can be put over the child’s head to keep it floating.
Pool Area Safety
All swimming pools that are also used by children must install and maintain barriers. A child is always developing physically as well as mentally, with developing and emerging physical abilities and every growing inquisitiveness can become potentially hazardous when around or in water. Even the slightest negligence can have dangerous consequences.
A child can easily slip through open pool gates or pool barriers in a blink of an eye, thus being aware of the location of your child becomes extremely important. Keeping all entrance to the pool closed when there is no adult supervision is necessary. Also it is recommended that a see through mesh fence be installed which completely surrounds the swimming pool as this fencing will separate the house and all its exits from the pool areas.
The pool’s safety fencing should be properly locked when not in use and all objects such as tables, chairs or any other objects that can be climbed on, should be kept away from the area as they might encourage the child to access the pool. Pools in the house can be always locked away from children to prevent mishaps.
Shower using a medicated soap after a swim should be encouraged. Swimming during bad weather conditions should be avoided. All toys and other pool play material should be removed from the pool when not in use. Children suffering from cold, cough or other contagious infections should avoid swimming in common pools as it may infect other children.
Running, jumping or playing around a wet pool area should completely be avoided as they may cause fatal accidents. A first aid certification must be acquired by all parent and caregivers. In an event of emergency you should stay as calm as possible reacting swiftly and effectively to give the right first aid. A portable phone must always be near the pool in a conveniently reachable position with all emergency numbers. Prepare pool rules for your child which should include general instructions that your child will need to follow every time while entering the pool, such as never run around the pool or always have mommy, daddy around or in the pool while swimming etc.
These simple but extremely important safety aspects will give you a pleasurable and safe pool time with your little aqua-child and make every swimming session a happy one. Playing in the water with your child and also making him/her understand the safety to be followed is very essential for the growth of your child. Do not threaten your child by creating imaginary water monsters which come when the child is alone near the pool. This will increase the child’s fear of water and he or she would never learn to swim.