Water safety tips By American Lifeguard Association


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Swimming is a great physical activity and an important part of spring and summer break. Parents should be aware that swimming has its risks. Follow these water safety tips from the American Lifeguard Association (ALA) to prevent and protect your children from drowning.

Pool Safety

Never leave a child alone in the water or near where there is water, not for a single moment; Careful supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to prevent drowning in children.

When children under 5 years of age are in or near water, they should have an adult within arm’s reach who preferably can swim and perform CPR, who provides “contact supervision.”

Install a fence at least 4 feet (1.2 m) high around the pool. Check the fence for gaps/gaps or protrusions that a young child can use to climb, pass through, or under the fence.

Make sure the pool entrance doors open outward and the latch automatically closes at a height that children cannot reach. Consider installing an alert alarm for when someone opens the door or using wave/wave or underwater alarms for additional protection.

The safest fence is the one that surrounds the pool on all four sides and separates the pool from the house and the yard completely. If the house is used as a side of the fence, install an alarm at the exit door to the patio and pool. For additional protection, install protective windows or windows facing the pool. Drowning victims have also used pet doors to gain access to the pool. Keep alarms in good working order with fresh cells or batteries.

Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd-style pool hook, and a life preserver) and a portable phone near the pool. Choose a shepherd-style pool hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.

Avoid swimming aids such as floats. They are not a substitute for life jackets and produce false safety for children and parents.

Children older than one year may be less at risk of drowning if they have taken swimming lessons. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or survival skills can prevent children under the age of one from drowning.

The decision to enroll a child over one year of age in swimming lessons should be made by the parents based on the child’s development and disposition and exposure to water, but swim programs should not be considered “drowning proof.” “for children at any age.

Prevent children from being pinned or caught in the drain. Drain suction from pools and spas can trap a swimmer or bather if the drain cover has broken down or is missing. Ask your pool operator if pool drains meet the requirements of the pool and spa safety law. If you have a pool or spa, ask your pool operator representative to install drain covers and other devices or systems on the drain and suction fittings. For more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, visit the PoolSafety.gov website.

Inflatable above-ground pools have become very fashionable for use on patios. Children can fall inside if they lie on the soft side of the inflatable pool. Although these pools are generally exempt from requirements, it is extremely important that they are surrounded by a fence as in the case of a permanent pool to prevent children from gaining access without adult supervision.

If you don’t know where your child is or can’t locate him, look for him first at the pool or spa.

Share the safety instructions with your family, friends, and neighbors.

Safety aboard boats

Children should wear life jackets at all times when traveling aboard boats or near bodies of water. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection and set a good example.

Make sure the life jacket is the correct size for your child. The vest should not be baggy. It should always be used as directed with all straps fastened.

Inflatable wing floats, toys, rafts, and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or as individual floating devices.

Teens and adults should be warned of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even some prescription medications.

Children follow your example when you are on a boat. All crew members, children, and adults must wear life jackets.

Swimming in the open sea

Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need a partner!

A lifeguard class (or other adults who knows water rescue) should watch children whenever they are in or near water. Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near water — use “contact supervision,” to keep them at a distance of no more than an arm’s length.

Make sure your child knows never to dive or dive in the water, except when allowed by an adult who knows the depth of the water and has verified that there are no objects underwater.

Never allow your child to swim in canals or any fast-moving waterway. Swimming in the sea should only be allowed when there is a lifeguard on duty.

Teach children about rip currents (also called return currents). If you get caught in such a current, swim parallel to shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.

Be alert to swimming pools and beaches in other countries where they do not have lifeguards or lifeguards and where pool drainage systems can be a danger to children. Closely supervise children.

On beaches, stay in designated swimming areas and preferably where the lifeguard or lifeguard can see you.

Seek shelter in the event of a storm. Get out of the water immediately. Clear the beach in case of lightning.