Children love playing in water, especially on hot summer days. Swimming and wading provide such healthy exercise and fun that many places offer lessons for your baby or toddler to learn how to swim. However, it is important to encourage safe water play for your children.
The number one cause of death in children less than five years of age is drowning. The bodies of babies and toddlers are top heavy; if they fall into the water, they cannot lift themselves out. It is important to have a grown-up always watching your children when they are around, in, or on water. This is important even if your child knows how to swim.
Some steps for parents to take to keep their children safe around water are:
In addition to assuming responsibility for and supervising your child’s safe water play, teach your child how to float and swim as soon as you can. Also, teach them the following rules for water safety:
Supervising your children means continual visual contact with your children, keeping them within arm’s reach all the time. You need to be able to respond quickly anytime you are around water. This includes at the beach or swimming pool; near dams, rivers, and lakes; and at home around the bathtub or spa. Additionally, hold your child’s hand when you are near waves or in a boat. When fishing, make sure your child does not get too close to rushing water. Remember, it only takes a few minutes for a fun time to turn tragic. Encouraging safe water play for children helps everyone have a fun and relaxing time.