Summer is here and children all across the country are beating the heat by taking a refreshing dip in the pool. Jeffrey Nadrich, a personal injury attorney in Palm Desert, California, suggests the following tips to make sure children stay safe this summer:
Give children 100% of your attention whenever they are in or around an open body of water. Remain within an arm’s reach of any infants or toddlers who are in or around an open body of water. A one inch deep open body of water can drown a small child. Rotate child supervision duty when multiple adults are present to ensure the alertness of supervisors. Do not drink alcohol while supervising swimming children.
Don’t start introducing your babies to water until they are six months old. Have your children take swimming lessons when you think they’re ready. Your children should learn how to tread water and float. Ensure children only swim in designated swimming areas. Educate children on the dangers of swimming in open water, such as river currents, undertow in the ocean, uneven ground and weather hazards. Teach children to always swim with an adult.
Learn CPR and have your children learn it as well. You can often receive CPR training at a hospital, fire department or your local recreation department. Check water first when a child is missing. Every second counts in preventing a drowning. Toys such as noodles and water wings are not a safe substitute for a personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard.
Make sure your pool is secure to prevent unsupervised children from wandering into your pool. Two children aged 14 and under die every day from unintentional drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many of these deaths involve unsupervised children. Install 4 foot minimum fencing which completely encircles the pool area and has a gate with a latch which is out of the reach of children. Install an alarm that alerts you whenever unsupervised children enter the pool area. Always remove all toys from the pool area when you’re finished using the area to prevent unsupervised children from entering the pool area to retrieve the toys. Empty inflatable pools after use to prevent unsupervised children from accessing them, and store them upside down where children cannot access them.
Teach your kids about how dangerous drains and suction outlets are. Drains and suction outlets are entanglement and entrapment hazards. Teach them to never swim or play near them. Install multiple drains in pools, hot tubs, etc., to minimize any single drain’s suction and reduce the risk of entrapment. Drain covers that prevent entrapment are available, as are systems that will automatically release suction and shut down a pump when entrapment happens. Check drain covers regularly. Replace flat drain covers with dome-shaped covers. Don’t use pools with missing or broken drain covers.
You should have appropriate equipment on hand whenever children are swimming, such as throwing or reaching equipment and a cell phone to call 911 with. Make sure children drink plenty of water while swimming, even if they’re not thirsty. Dehydration is a common issue while swimming. Teach children not to hyperventilate before swimming underwater, and teach children not to try to hold their breath underwater for a long period of time. These things can cause them to lose consciousness and drown.
Be aware of local weather conditions before making the decision to go swimming, as lightning strikes and strong winds can be very dangerous. Test water temperature before jumping in. Cold water can slow your muscles, increase your blood pressure and increase your heart rate. Teach your children to walk, not run, in pool areas. The ground in pool areas can be wet and slippery. Teach your children not to eat or chew gum while swimming, as this presents a choking hazard.
Author: Jeffrey Nadrich, Esq.