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Water Safety for Children
Water Safety for Children

Water Safety


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

By Dr. Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe, Pediatrics Now

Children of all ages like to play in the water be it at a beach or swimming pool. In fact, for many kids, swimming, splashing and snorkeling are likely to be the highlight of the family trip! Yet water can be dangerous element even for competent swimmers. A crowded pool and rough seas warrant extra caution. Thankfully, forethought and common sense will go a long way to keeping the kids healthy and safe whether you are heading to the beach or lounging by the pool.

Before you depart, talk to your kids about beach and pool safety. Be realistic about their fear of water as well as their ability to swim. Those realities won't change on vacation: If your child needs water wings at home, (s)he will need them at the beach as well as the hotel pool.

On holiday, never throw caution to the wind. The same water safety rules apply whether you're enjoying the water at home or on a family holiday.
  • Direct adult supervision is needed for everything involving water. You are your children's first line of defense!
  • Supervising children at a beach or pool while under the influence of alcohol is the equivalent of not supervising them at all. To attend to their needs quickly, you need to stay sharp.
  • A wading pool is no less risky than the bathtub. Don't leave a toddler or young child unattended just because (s)he can touch.
  • Make the buddy system a requirement for tweens and teenagers.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool or spa first and call for help immediately.
  • Locate safety equipment as well as the nearest phone before you take the first plunge. If your cell phone has reception, bring it along.
  • Be sure the pool's electric filter has a proper safety cover. Hair sucked into uncovered filters can cause serious bodily injury and lead to drowning.
  • Brush up on your CPR.
  • Don't underestimate tides, currents or the undertow. Don't swim when it isn't safe.

Here's to many days of safe water fun for you and your family!

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