Today I have a super interesting and important post to share with you from Patricia Sarmiento who founded publichealthcorps.org. Patricia is an avid swimmer and runner. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into blogging about health and health-related topics. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.
Pool Safety Tips for Parents of Young Children
Sometimes I feel like I grew up in the water. I started swimming at a very young age, and I wanted my children to love the water as much as I do. As a result, I introduced both my children to the pool when they were still babies. But that said, I was well aware of how dangerous the water can be for little ones.
Before I put my son in the pool for the first time, I wanted to be sure I was well-educated in water safety for babies and toddlers. If you’re the parent of a little one and you want to learn about about pool safety, try this all-inclusive guide to recreational swimming safety. Then, take a look at the tips below. These are a few of the essentials for not only keeping babies and toddlers safe around water but helping them develop confidence in the water.
Keep child within arm’s reach. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using “touch supervision” for children under the age of 5. If little ones are in or around the water, always be within arms reach.
Start lessons early. When I started my son in swim lessons as a toddler, some of my friends and family thought I was nuts. Even my mom told me she thought I was wasting my money. But I insisted and here’s why: As this Brain World article points out, a National Institute of Health study found that swim lessons for kids ages 1 – 4 can reduce their chances of drowning by as much as 88 percent. That was enough to convince me!
Avoid using floaties. My daughter didn’t take to the water as well as my son. She hated toddler swim lessons and after two classes we had to abandon them completely. She was just too miserable. I tell you this to let you know that I, too, am guilty of letting my children use flotation devices. The one way we could get my daughter to enjoy the water was to let her float in her PFD. That said, as Water Safety Magazine explains flotation devices, such as floaties, can lead to bad habits that may make learning to swim later on more difficult.
Learn CPR. A few summers ago all the parents on our street made a pact—we would all become CPR certified. A couple of houses on my street have pools and several of us have young children. We knew our kids would be swimming a lot, and we wanted the peace of mind of knowing CPR-certified adults would always be present. So, we worked together, babysitting for each other while we attended classes until we were all certified. To this day, we all regularly renew our certification. It is something that is relatively easy to do and it can make such a big difference. Check out PoolSafely.gov to learn more about how to find a class in your area.
With the right supervision and knowledge, children of any age can be safe around the water. Keep these tips in mind, slather the kids in sunscreen, and have a great summer!