Swim Smart, Swim Safe This page is about how you can make smart decisions around water to stay safe. In the future you will find terrific information regarding swimming programs and styles, safety equipment, the danger that backyard swimming pools present (even the blow up wading pools) and more. We hope that you find it informative and helpful in keeping your family safe!
Watch This Fun And Educational Video With Your Child!
Looking for more information regarding children and swimming? Researching what is a great age to start water play or swimming lessons? Here are a few links that might help in making your decision:
CDC Podcasts are available to you on many different subjects to help keep your family safe. Click here to go to a podcast on drowning prevention of young children. Great information!
CHILDREN SAVING CHILDREN
Recently there have been articles in the local paper and the national news about young children saving even younger siblings and friends from drowning. Although they make for a wonderful story that tugs at the heart for the "little hero", reality is that the families are very lucky that they did not loose both children to a double drowning. Each year there are stories of parents drowning while frantically trying to recover their drowning child from lakes, rivers, ponds and pools. Friends have drowned together while trying to rescue each other. Husband and wives have drowned from over turned boats and one is not a good swimmer and the second also drowns when attempting to rescue their loved one. Double drownings are not uncommon. The best rule of aquatic safety is to teach your children to yell for help (very loudly), push something out into the water for the other person to grab onto and never swim in an unsupervised area. But the major rule of safety around water is to NEVER GO IN AFTER A PERSON WHO IS IN AQUATIC DISTRESS. Even lifeguards are taught to only enter the water as a last effort to save the victim. ALWAYS, reach, throw or row...never go unless you are a trained lifeguard that has been taught aquatic rescue and extraction techniques. Parents should never become over confident about their child's safety around water. Not even in backyard wading pools. It does not take much water for a person to drown in and the danger is always there. Should we teach our children to be afraid? No. But do teach them to respect the powerful force of water and get them into an instructional program that does teach safety rules first and good swimming and survival techniques. And then, NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED IN A SITUATION THAT CAN TAKE OR ENDANGER THEIR LIVES.
Confused about life-jacket? Are floaties really safe? We understand your confusion. There are many different types of water equipment now sold on the open market and if you are not trained to tell the difference, it is difficult to figure out what is the best for your child. Maybe we can help with a little bit of the confusion here. Here is a shortened version of our opinion The best method of keeping your child safe in water is to 1) get him/her into a swim program that teaches strong swimming skills and how to make smart decision around water. 2) ALWAYS swim in a supervised area and never allow your child to swim alone. 3) Never assume that because your child is wearing some type of floatation device that they are safe. The best life jackets are the type that come around and behind the neck to keep the head out of the water if the swimmer becomes unconscious. They are actually made to turn a person from a face down position to face up if the swimmer is injured.These are usually orange and are carried on boats. Though uncomfortable and not very stylish, they do tend to be the better one on the market. And of course the main thing to look for is the Coast Guard Approval stamp and what the weight requirements are. Other floatation devices such as a vest can also be a good choice as long as you make sure that they are the proper fit and weight for your child and again, are Coast Guard Approved. The suits with built in floatation should also be cautiously used since a child can become face down and not able to roll over or sit up to get air. Again, be sure there has been testing done with the suit before purchasing it. One on the market now for children, gives us great concern. It is a floatation device that goes around the back in the shoulder blade area and buckles with a strap in front. It also has arm bands attached (much like floaties). And although the device may float a child in an upright position if conscious, it is uncertain if the child would float face up if injured or unconscious. When inspected, we found no Coast Guard approval stamp nor a size or weight limit on it. The worst item we see parents trusting to keep their children safe are the blow up arm band floaties. Although a favorite of young swimmers, we would caution parents about believing that their child is safe with them on. They have been manufactured as a toy and are great fun when properly being supervised by and adult ( we use them for water aerobics and other classes in our school, but never as a safety floatation. The problem with the blow up arm bands is that they do tend to slip off the arms, especially if the child is jumping into water. And since height increases speed on entry, blow up floaties a re NEVER recommended for going off the side of the pool or diving boards in the deep end. Floaties are for fun but if not watched over closely, they can be a deadly toy. Also remember that there is no such thing as water proofing a child or adult. Even seasoned swimmers have drowned for no know reason. The best thing is to learn to be smart around water so that you are safer.
Here are some sites that you may want to investigate about water safety. Check the list often as we will update it on a regular basis.
www.usa.safekids.org/water/ Here you will find some good information regarding the safety of children around water AND what we felt was terrific, a downloadable card for parents and a safety check list areoun pools and spas. The card system helps parents to actively supervise young swimmers! It is not unusual for a young child to drown at their mother feet while she stands in water visiting with other mothers. Young children tend to be silent drowning children, so here is how you can be safer this summer!
www.kidhealth.org/teen/safety This is a site that offers information for teens and safety around water. Teens (especially boys) tend to take "a dare" and find themselves in a bad way with water. Be sure your teen can swim well and is not afraid to say "no"
www.safeusa.org/water A site that offers some great advice to parents about being safe around water Especially if you have a backyard pool.
www.watersafety.usace.army.mil The National Water Safety Program by the US Army Corp of Engineers is also a great site for good information and fun. Go to the site and click on Bobber the Water Dog to find some fun activities for your child!
www.cdc.gov/nasd The National Ag Safety Base has articles on safety around farm ponds