4th of July Water Safety Tips

If you think that the best way to keep your kids safe at the beach or lake is to never take your eyes off of them, you are only partly right.  While constant supervision is probably the most important safety measure you can take, there is more you can do.

If your holiday plans involve spending time near the water, take a few minutes to read over these safety tips provided by Infant Swim Resource.  While some of these tips may seem like common sense, there are some great ideas here that you may not have considered.

Supervision – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 70 percent of child drownings occur when one or both parents are nearby.  Never, ever turn your back when your child is in or near the water.  And if you are at the beach, where waves and currents can hamper even the best little swimmer, always stay within arm’s reach of your child.  And be clear with the other adults as to whose turn it is to watch the kids.

Bright Colors – Wearing bright colors will make your child more visible on the shoreline and in the water.  And if you always dress your children in the same bright colors at the beach and lake, it’s even easier to pick them out of the crowd.

Pictures – Hopefully you won’t need it, but having a photo of your child dressed in his or her beach clothes can come in handy.  Keep it in a waterproof plastic bag in case you need to show it to the life guard.

Cell Phones – In case of emergency, you need your cell phone close by and fully charged. Keep it in a plastic bag to protect it from sand, salt and water.

Dock Safety – Be prepared for the worst with a hook, rope and throw ring attached to the dock.  Practice their use but don’t allow the kids to play with them.  To help prevent accidental falls, paint a line several feet in from the edge of the dock.  Insist that the line is not to be crossed unless the child is holding the hand of an adult.  All docks should have safety entrance gates equipped with with alarms.

Rope off a wading/swimming area – Keep the kids from swimming out too far by designating a swimming area with ropes fitted with floats.

Life Jackets – Children should always wear life jackets in a boat or anytime there’s a chance they might accidentally fall into the water.  Adults should set a good example by wearing one themselves.  Make sure your child’s life jacket is appropriately sized and read the instructions and warning labels before using.

Floaties – Kids and parents alike can get a false sense security from floaties, inflatable rings and the like.  If your child is using a flotation device, keep an eye on him as if he wasn’t. And remember:  inflatable flotation devices can deflate or fall off easily.

Survival Swimming Enroll your child in a survival swimming course before heading to the shore.  These courses teach children how to stay alive in the water until help arrives.

Boat Safety –  Not on the Infant Swim list but something everyone should be aware of:  swimming behind a running boat is extremely dangerous.  Not only do swimmers risk coming into contact with the motor’s blades, the carbon monoxide from the exhaust can quickly overcome a swimmer, who may pass out and drown.

Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Image: D Sharon Pruitt/Flickr

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