Last year my worst nightmare almost came true when my son nearly drowned. I still replay that day over in my head and am so fortunate nothing terrible happened. Considering Texas has the most drownings per year, this is definitely on the forefront of our minds. In honor of May being declared National Drowning Prevention Month we asked Sue Mackie, the Executive Director of the United States Swim School Association, to give us a few tips to keep in mind to help prevent the worst from happening …
Know the Facts:
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. On average, 3,533 people die as a result of drowning each year, and most of those deaths are children under the age of four who drown in backyard swimming pools. The tragedy of these statistics is nearly all drowning deaths are preventable.
How to Prevent:
There are several standard water safety precautions recommended to parents including: keeping children under constant supervision, enrolling children in swimming lessons, knowing CPR, having pool fences and barriers installed. In addition to these vital steps, USSSA has created a list of tips parents can use to build extra layers of protection for their children around water.
Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Tips:
- Create a verbal cue for your toddler or child that must be given by you before he or she can enter the pool.
- Never allow your baby/toddler in the pool without a swim diaper. This can help create a routine for the child to become accustomed to. If the child knows a swim diaper is needed before going in the pool, he or she would seek out a diaper, which would give the parents time to catch them in the act before they ever make it into the pool.
- Create a process the child must go through before entering a pool such as putting on a swim diaper, a swimsuit and applying sunscreen.
- Never use floatation devices or water wings when swimming or when teaching kids to swim.
- Children should learn to swim without goggles. Teach your children to open their eyes under water; if they fall in they can find the side of the pool or a step and get out safely.
- For very young children, practice having them put their entire face under water in the bathtub and blow bubbles to build their comfort with water.
- Create a water safety plan for your family and have water emergency drills with your kids covering how to recognize the signs of someone struggling in water and what to do in this type of emergency.
- Make sure your guests and kids’ friends know your pool rules before they go outside and get in the pool.
- Start swim lessons at 6 months of age and continue them year-round at a U.S. Swim School member location.
- Always make sure your children wear life jackets on boats, personal watercraft and in open bodies of water.
For more information on USSSA, details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization, or to find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, visit: US Swim School.
Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.