“We want families to have a good time, we just want to encourage them to do it safely,” says Jessica Strong, Community Outreach Manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
Strong has a few tips to keep kids safe around water. First, if your child goes missing, always check water first. This includes backyard pools, rivers/streams/lakes, and even kiddie pools. Experts say a child can drown in just two inches of water so make sure when you’re done using your kiddie pool, you flip is over, and turn it upside down.
Anytime you’re around water, there needs to be an adult who is dedicated to watching kids.
“You don’t want to be on your phone, you don’t want to be reading a book, you don’t want to be talking to others. You really have one job and that is watching the children,” says Strong.
One way to make sure the adult doesn’t forget it’s their turn to be the water watcher is to have them wear a designated hat. Be aware that if there are a lot of kids, you might need more than one water watcher on duty. If something doesn’t seem right, it’s crucial to intervene immediately.
Proper safety gear and floatation devices is also important, especially if a child hasn’t learned how to swim. Even in a swimming pool, kids need to wear coastguard certified life jacket. Strong encourages parents to teach their kids how to swim as soon as they’re ready, but don’t let it give you a false sense of security. It’s still important to always watch your children around water.
One of the most dangerous times for a child is when everyone is packing up to leave. Often times this when parents let their guard down, kids don’t want to leave, and devastating accidents can happen.
Finally, teach your kids that it’s never okay to swim alone.
“It’s important that kids know when it’s appropriate to swim in water and when it’s not,” says Strong.
For more water safety tips, click here.