May is National Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Month. When it comes to drowning, the statistics are pretty staggering. From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages one to four — and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, statistics show that thousands of children are hospitalized each year for nonfatal drowning incidents.
Accidents can happen quickly. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and in as little time as 20 seconds.
Every parent and caregiver needs to keep the following water safety tips in mind:
- Any time kids are around water, designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. After all, most children who drown are supervised.
- The American Red Cross says that the number one thing that parents can do to keep kids safer in and around water is to enroll them in swim lessons. Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.
- Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water.
- Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
- Know that even the most seasoned swimmers can still encounter trouble. Make sure swimmers don’t overestimate their skills and that they understand the importance of never swimming alone.
3 Basic Skills to Keep Your Kids Safe at the Pool
In addition to these tips, there are several basic skills that the water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School work on with students every week. Parents can practice these skills with their kids anytime they are in the water together:
Work on Getting In and Out of the Pool Safely
Fin, Fin, Belly, Flipper! Help your little ones learn how to get out of the pool by manipulating their bodies in this order: elbow, elbow, tummy, knee. Practice this often; you can even do this on your living room floor by having your baby climb onto a couch or chair! After you practice, always remember to celebrate.
Eventually, your little one will be strong enough to manage the movement on his own! This is a skill that kids continue to use to safely exit the pool — even when they are older!
Practice Swimming to the Nearest Wall
Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall! Once they have the movement down, let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help them physically turn back to the wall and then assist them in getting out of the pool by using the Fin, Fin, Belly, Flipper method. Do this over and over again. As they get more confident, let them go under the water and come to the surface on their own.
This teaches kids to automatically turn back to the wall behind them to climb out. If a child were to fall into a pool, this skill could help them find the quickest way to safety.
Learn How to Float using the Rollover/Sea Otter Float
Work with your child on turning over and getting their faces out of the water to take a breath when he/she fatigues.
We look forward to seeing your family in the pool to prepare for a safer summer 2018!
For more information on enrolling your child in swim lessons, please visit: goldfishswimschool.com.
Goldfish Swim School
Goldfish Swim School has three Cleveland-area locations:
- Goldfish Swim School Cleveland East Side
- Goldfish Swim School Fairview Park
- Goldfish Swim School Hudson
Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student-teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system.
Visit the website for more information: goldfishswimschool.com.