Summer is just around the corner and that means lots of time at the beach and pool.
It also means that are kids are at risk of becoming one of the many children who drown each summer. As a parent, that is terrifying. As a mom who nearly lot her daughter in a near-drowning, I can tell you just how quickly a fun day near the water can go wrong.
The ZAC Foundation is working to make sure that children and parents know what it takes to be safe around the water and they provide a wealth of water safety tips. Most of their safety programing targets children ages 5-9 and they have some great resources for parents. They teamed up with us to share some life-saving water safety tips.
I have always been careful around the water. I never thought I would nearly lose a child to drowning.
The scary thing about drowning is it happens so, so quickly. The only way to protect our kids is to stay alert and educate yourself about water safety before you go anywhere near the water.
I thought I knew all about water safety. What I didn’t know nearly cost my daughter her life.
The ZAC Foundation recommends following the ABC&D’s of water safety:
- ADULT: Never let children be alone near or in a pool, ocean, lake, or river. Children should be taught to never swim without an adult present.
- BARRIER: Have a four-sided fence that goes around your pool with a self-locking gate.
- CLASSES: Kids and adults should take safety classes like swim lessons and CPR.
- DRAINS: ALL swimmers should stay away from all pool and spa drains to avoid becoming trapped by the suction.
These are great guidelines. I think as parents, we all know the basics. It’s putting these things into action that can really mean the difference between life and death.
It is essential that kids are never unsupervised near the water. I’ll take this one step further. My daughter nearly drowned surrounded by a group of adults. Be sure that you are not only physically present but have your eyes on your child. Do not get distracted by anything. Don’t bring your phone or a book to the pool. Don’t get caught up in a conversation with other adults. Your focus has to be 110% on your child.
We are human. We are prone to be distracted. It scares me when I hear parents say that they would never be distracted when their child is near the water. I didn’t think I would be either. I was having a short conversation with someone near the pool when my daughter snuck off. She had been sitting on a chair right next to me moments before.
Don’t assume you are safe. Keep yourself in check.
If you have a pool, hot tub, fountain, or any other body of water near your home make sure you have a secure barrier. I’d recommend having multiple barriers and getting into the habit of double checking everything. Since my daughter’s accident I’ve heard so many stories of children drowning in backyard pools.
It isn’t enough to have a barrier there. Make sure it is in place when not being used and that your child cannot get through.
Teaching a child to swim is essential and could very likely save their life. You still have to be vigilant around the water once kids know how to swim but knowing basic water safety skills can buy you some time in situations where seconds count.
Look for swimming lessons that focus on water safety sills and life saving skills. I’d recommend doing a class with your child if you have younger kids. If you have a non-swimmer, make sure that you are able to be there to observe the class. Swimming classes often have several kids in them and after my experience I don’t trust anyone else with my children’s safety when they are in the water.
Do you consider drain safety when you visit the pool? Drain entrapment is a risk when swimming in a pool or hot tub. Kids (and adults) need to be taught to stay away from drains while swimming. Avoid having loose hair or jewelry that could be tangled up in the drain.
Read About Water Safety with your Kids
Before heading to the pool now, I always talk with my kids (even the ones who know how to swim) about water safety so they know what they need to watch out for while at the pool. I teach my older kids to watch for warning signs that someone is in trouble at the pool. My younger kids are taught to stay away from the water unless they are with an adult — we repeat this over and over again because kids have a short memory.
The co-founders of The ZAC Foundation, Karen and Brian Cohn, have come out with a book that’s perfect for teaching younger kids about water safety before your first trip to the pool this summer. The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim follows the journey of a young polar bear named Zeke who is afraid of the water and refuses to swim.
He leaves his home in search of other animals who do not swim, and ends up finding that he can enjoy the water if he follows the ABC and D’s of water safety, while learning a valuable lesson about facing his fears with a positive attitude.
Enter to Win
The ZAC Foundation is giving away 15 summer fun kits (ARV $50)!
This giveaway includes:
- The ZAC Foundation Children’s Book: The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim
- Beach towel
- Water Watcher Card
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.