By Melody Boggs on 9 May 2014
Atlanta–May is recognized as National Water Safety Month and is the perfect time to teach yourself and your family how to stay safe around water during these warmer seasons. Whether you have a pool at home or plan on visiting the beach, these tips are universally beneficial for everyone to learn, particularly for parents or upcoming parents of small children. We’ve gathered a few ways to prepare for you and your little ones’ exposure to water below, but be sure to also visit the American Red Cross or the official website for National Water Safety Month to learn how you can get further educated and involved.
- Make sure all age-appropriate children know how to swim before approaching the water.
- If your child is not a strong swimmer, then purchase flotation devices—such as a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket—and make sure they operate correctly before your child enters the water.
- Do NOT leave children unattended around water. Designate someone to always watch the water and look out for accidents.
- Use the buddy system. Never swim alone, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer.
- When applicable, be sure to teach any babysitter proper water safety, so they know how to behave appropriately with your children.
- Learn CPR and post instructions for CPR around your pool area.
- Always wear a life jacket if you plan on going boating.
- Just like you should never drink and drive, never drink and swim. Alcohol and water do not mix well.
- Be strict about pool rules such as “No running” or “No diving” to prevent accidents before they happen.
- Do not allow your children to enter the pool directly after eating. Always wait at least thirty minutes before approaching the pool again.
- Keep your pools and spas clean and clear, and be sure that any chemicals used are maintained at the advised level, filtration, and circulation to prevent rashes and other problems.
- Ensure that your pool is properly fenced in with secure gates and latches. Consider installing alarms to go off if anyone opens the gate or enters the pool without approval. For above ground pools, remove access ladders and always secure the safety cover.
- At the beach or in water parks, only swim where the lifeguard designates.
- Check the water immediately if you notice a child is missing.
- Know when you should and how to call 9-1-1 and other emergency numbers. Keep those numbers hanging in an obvious place, so other people can act on them if necessary.
- Pay attention to color designators at the beach and be aware of the ocean’s behavior. Learn what each colored flag or sign means before allowing your children, friends, and family members access to the water.
If you haven’t already, it’s never too late to enroll yourself or your child into an age-appropriate swimming class or a CPR class. These are low cost classes for skills that come in handy throughout a person’s lifetime, so take advantage of them when you can. Also, if you’ve planned on installing a pool or spa in your home, allow us to help you find a local pool expert to assist you with the installation and with designing safety features around your pool. When it comes to water, safety is never something you’ll come to regret.