As temperatures start to rise and with stay-at-home orders in effect, your family may be spending more time at the pool than ever before. However, many swimming lessons have been canceled with city and private swim schools closed, which leaves parents with the ultimate responsibility for teaching their children water safety.
Keep these water safety tips, straight from CHOC Children’s community education department, top of mind to ensure your family has a safe summer in the water.
- Assign a water watcher
Children need supervision at all times near the water, even if there is a lifeguard on duty. Designate an adult who knows how to swim and how to perform CPR as a “water watcher.” Accidents often happen during a lapse in supervision, rather than during a total lack of supervision, says Amy Frias, CHOC community educator.
CHOC offers water watcher lanyards that can be worn by the assigned adult. If your water watcher leaves the water area, even for a short time, have them first pass along the water watcher lanyard and duties to another responsible adult. To request a lanyard, contact the community education department.
- There is no such thing as drown-proof
Don’t give your child a pass on safety protocols even if he has had swimming lessons and is an experienced swimmer.
A child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Keep an eye on all bodies of water, such as bathtubs, toilets, buckets, ice chests and dog dishes. Empty inflatable pools after use and store pool upside down.
Even if you’re fully grown, never swim alone.
- Be aware of beach hazards
Watch for rip current and weather condition signs at the beach. Swimming in the ocean should only be allowed when there is a lifeguard on duty. Never swim alone — even good swimmers need buddies.
- Establish multiple layers of protection
Kids can get into things quickly, even if an adult is distracted for just a few seconds. Fences, gates, alarms and covers for your pool and spa are just a few ways that you can reinforce your home as a safe environment.
Fences should be at least 60 inches high, surround all four sides of the pool or spa, and have self-closing or self-latching gates.
For larger inflatable pools, use covers and keep doors leading out to the pool area locked.
This article was updated on May 20, 2020.