Health Care

Keeping Your Kids Safe Around Water

Little girl swimming in pool

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Spending time in a swimming pool, at the beach or playing in water is a fun way to beat the heat and keep kids active during the hot summer months.

But, unfortunately, with water comes risk. And active adult supervision is critical to avoiding trouble.

“Many times, near-drowning occurs in the middle of a crowd,” explains Sara Kirby, MD, board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physician and Medical Director at AdventHealth Tampa’s Pediatric Emergency Room.

Dr. Kirby explains that assumptions are dangerous; if all adults assume someone is watching the children, it’s possible that no one actually is.

“Make sure small children are no more than an arm’s-length away at all times and there is an adult assigned to watch older children playing. Use a bracelet or lanyard to designate who is responsible for watching that shift,” she advises.

If you incorporate these helpful tips, you and your family can enjoy water fun while also lowering your risk for a water-related accident.

Tips for Parents

Follow these important safety guidelines to ensure your kids don't have an accident around water.

  • Always swim in areas that are monitored and avoid taking the plunge in ponds or canals that don't have a lifeguard and could have hazardous wildlife
  • Be mindful when young children are in the bathtub and never leave them unsupervised; it doesn't take a lot of water to have a near-drowning incident
  • Enroll in a CPR class and keep the number of your local Emergency Medical Service saved in your phone
  • Enroll kids in swimming lessons to teach them how to be comfortable and not panic in the water
  • If you go boating, make sure that you have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for every passenger on board
  • Install a secure gate around your pool or spa at home to make sure kids don't wander into the area without an adult
  • Make sure that whenever they're swimming, children are actively supervised

Tips for Children

Teach your kids these water safety habits to help them be safe when they're enjoying the summer sun.

  • Always swim with a buddy so you're never alone if you need help
  • Unless a grown-up says it's okay, never jump or dive into a body of water; it's safer to wade in if you don't know how deep it is
  • Have fun, but don't roughhouse when you're swimming; jumping on top of someone or pushing them down isn't nice, and it could lead to a scary situation
  • Know what to do if something goes wrong: tell an adult and call for help right away

Remember — although swimming pools are where most of the submersion injuries that come into the emergency room occur, it only takes an inch of water for a child to drown. Keep an eye on little ones and follow these safety precautions, and you can significantly reduce the chances of something going wrong.

Click here to learn more about water safety from AdventHealth for Children Tampa board-certified emergency medicine physician, Katarzyna Madejczyk, MD.

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