Water-Safety Essentials for Parents07/27/13
SATURDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- On a hot summer day,
pools, lakes and beaches beckon children and teens. But adults need
to make sure youngsters are safe when they're playing in and around
water, experts say.
"Children can drown in even the smallest body of water, including toilets, decorative fountains, portable pools, buckets and bath tubs," Dr. Wendy Pomerantz, an emergency-room physician at Cincinnati Children' Hospital Medical Center, said in a hospital news release. "Anytime you have a standing body of water that is accessible, make sure you supervise your child at all times."
Drowning rates in the United States have declined over the past
25 years, but drowning is still the second leading cause of
injury-related death for children aged 1 to 18.
Pomerantz and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer tips on
how to keep children safe while they're in and around water:
- All caregivers should learn CPR.
- Swimming lessons are recommended for children aged 1 to 4.
Research suggests that children may be less likely to drown if
they've had swimming lessons, but teaching your child how to swim
does not guarantee they are safe in water.
- Never leave children alone in or near pools, including
inflatable and other children's pools. An adult should be within
arm's length, providing "touch supervision." If you use an
inflatable or plastic pool, be sure to dump the water out of the
pool after each use and turn the pool upside down.
- Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all sides of the
pool. Such fences can cut the drowning risk in half. Pool covers
and pool alarms are not a substitute for fencing. Make sure pool
gates self-close and self-latch at a height that small children
- Make sure there is a telephone by the pool in case of an
emergency. Keep rescue equipment nearby, including a shepherd's
hook (a long pole with a hook on the end) and a life
- Never leave a toy in or around a pool. Avoid inflatable
swimming aids such as floaties. They are not a substitute for
approved life vests and can give children a false sense of
- Teach children to never run, push or jump on others around
water and never to swim alone. Talk to teenagers about the
increased risk of drowning when alcohol is involved.
- Never leave children alone in or near a bathtub, even for a
minute. There are no "bath seats" that are proven to be safe and
The Nemours Foundation has more about
children and water safety.
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.