Water safety tips can't be repeated too many times
For young families, water represents a challenging paradox: It can provide
hours of enjoyable, carefree fun, but it can also quickly lead to tragedy.
You’re no doubt familiar with the public-service admonition about
water and young children: “Children drown without a sound.”
In California, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children
under age 5.
I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s water fun, but whether it’s
at the beach, a backyard or community pool, a lake or even a bathtub or
toilet, parents with infants, toddlers and children of all ages must remain
vigilant when they are near water.
If you have children, chances are you’re well acquainted with, and
follow, important water safety tips. As spring approaches and, with it,
warmer weather, I wanted to take this opportunity to put them front and
center once again. They represent the cumulative advice of the American
Red Cross, Safe Kids Worldwide, and other organizations that have your
children’s health and safety at heart.
Never let a young child go near water unattended.
Make sure young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved
life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone. Keep
a close eye on your young children anytime they are around a body of water,
even with a lifeguard present.
Expanding on the point above, never allow your children to use inflatable
toys, floating noodles, or “water wings” as safety devices
in lieu of a lifejacket. They can suddenly deflate or easily slip out
of their hands or arms.
Small children and houses with pools are a dangerous mix: If your home
has a pool, be sure to install barriers around its entire perimeter. The
barrier should be at least four feet high and equipped with self-closing
gates that open outward and self-latch. Make sure the latch is high enough
that it is out of reach of little hands.
- If you have an above-ground pool, keep ladders and other structures that
kids could use to enter the pool away when it is not under adult supervision.
If your children have taken swimming lessons, that’s great. But never
use their swimming skills as a substitute for close adult supervision.
- Establish rules around pools and other bodies of water -- no running, pushing,
diving in shallow water, etc. -- and strictly enforce them.
These are just a few of the most important tips for water safety. You can
learn more by visiting
Safe Kids and the
American Red Cross.
Swimming and water play are among the most enjoyable activities families
share when the weather turns warm. At Hoag Medical Group, our goal is
to keep your family healthy, happy and safe -- every day, rain or shine,
all year long.