Summer brings along lots of family fun and family gatherings. It is also important for us to remember that along with all of that fun, there are unexpected hazards, as well.
Water safety is very important during the summer. According to the CDC on their drowning fact sheet, ”Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children from ages 1 to 14″.
For me one of the scarier hazards in the summer are swimming pools. Just because there are so many around where I live. Growing up we always had a swimming pool in our backyard. My parents made sure that there was a fence around it, and they would keep the alarm to our house on if neither of them were outside. That way they would know if someone went outside.
I know a family that lost a young toddler in a pool accident, and living in the South I hear of it many times during the year. The one incident that I know of happened to parents that were very vigilant.
I also think that it is very important to teach children how to swim as early as possible. Where I live they start very young, because water surrounds us. It is hard to even find a house that doesn’t have a pool in its backyard, let alone the many lakes and ponds that are everywhere you turn.
Drowning isn’t the only thing that can go wrong in a swimming pool. Many of us have heard of diving board and diving accidents and just because your baby pool or toddler pool only holds a little bit of water, that doesn’t mean that it is any less dangerous than the pool that is eight feet deep. The same measures should be followed with any type of water fun. I always take the water out of the baby pool and put it away right when we are finished so that no child can accidentally drown in it.
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Another thing that I think is important to remember is that just because your child is wearing floaties, or another type of assistance for swimming, that does not mean it is ok for them to be in the water alone without an adult. I have seen many parents leave young children in a pool because of such devices. Even though they have it written on them not to leave children unattended. Yes my child does very well in her swimming device, but I never leave the pool with her in it. Ever.
I have also been at parties, where there are tons of adults around and children in the pool. Most of the time the adults are paying no attention to the children. Just because there are adults around, if they are not supervising things can happen. My parents always had someone that would be in charge of being the lifeguard at the party, or they would hire a lifeguard depending on the size of the crowd.
The beach is so much fun. I lived near it growing up and spent most summers there, almost every day. However, children must know that the ocean can be very treterous, even for the most avid swimmer.
As a young child I was standing on the edge of the ocean, letting the water lap against my ankles, when I vividly remember being taken away by the water. Now my parents were right there, but the lifeguard was trained to be quick and know what to do. Therefore, he got to me quicker and saved me. It is a perfect example of why I always make sure that I sit near a lifeguard so that my children and I are swimming right in front of them. I know you can easily get swept away even if you are in ankle deep water.
As a boat owner I have seen many things that can happen and go wrong on a boat. Parents should make sure that the person driving the boat knows what they are doing and are following all safety precautions before they even allow their family to get on the boat. Children should wear life jackets at all times, no matter what. Even if they are uncomfortable, because from experience they are going to complain about them. Not for a second should they be allowed to be without a life jacket. Not only for safety but it is against the law according to Boat U.S..
Parents As Role Models
There are many other hazards and special safety things that we must be more aware of during the summer. You can find out more about the above hazards and others under the home and recreational safety page on the CDC website and what you can do to prevent them.
You can even download a very informative coloring book through the CDC to teach your children more about being safe. Not only will your children have fun coloring, they will also learn more about summer safety.
For me as a parent I think it is important to remember that my children follow my example. Therefore, I am sure to follow safe procedures when doing any of the above. Things can happen even to the best of parents that are hyper vigilant. In my opinion the more prevention put in place, the safer my children are and the more informed they are for the future.