Children’s Water Safety Starts with you Mom!

By SMW Staff

mom and kid in poolSingle Mamas, grandmas, grandpas, and you single dads who I know read Single Minded Women (we love you by the way) – in light of all the tragic drownings that have been happening all too often this summer and being that there are still several weeks of playing in the water to be had Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento, a pediatrician based in Morristown, New Jersey, has graciously provided all of us concerned moms and dads with these water safety tips. It’s certainly worth a quick read.

It’s summertime and that means plenty of water activity for your toddler and preschooler. It’s great fun and wonderful outside exercise for the whole family. But it also means that it’s time to take those extra steps to keep your children safe and prevent drowning.  The tragic truth is that three fourths of all drowning victims are between 1-3 years of age. Toddlers are most at risk because they can move rapidly and get into trouble just as quickly.

Although how you prevent accidental drowning at a pool in your back yard may be different from what you do at the beach, here is some universal advice that applies whenever you are around any body of water with a toddler or small child.

First of all:  Be prepared. Every parent and anyone caring for children should take a CPR course which can be life saving in many emergencies. Always have a cell phone with you when you are at the pool or beach and be sure you know the exact address of your location. Respect the warnings at beaches regarding riptides. In rough currents, a toddler or small child can quickly be swept away even if they are in your arms. Teach your children to respect water and when they are old enough, begin swimming lessons. It’s never a guarantee, but even beginner swimmers are safer than non –swimmers.

The most important safety tip, however, is being alert and knowing exactly where your child is at every moment:

  • Never leave children unsupervised near any body of water, even for a minute. A child can drown in less than 60 seconds.
  • Keep your child at arms length (also known as “reach supervision”), ready to grab quickly if he or she suddenly takes off towards the pool or lake.
  • Never leave an older child in charge of watching smaller children.
  • Never depend on lifeguards alone to watch small children.
  • If with a group, have one adult watching no more than two small children at a time.
  • If several adults are taking turns watching the children, have something such as a whistle or a ribbon that can be passed from one adult to another, so there is no confusion as to who is “on guard”.
  • Don’t get distracted. Even in a wading pool if you turn to talk to a friend, your toddler could slip under water.
  • Don’t depend entirely on flotation devices that could deflate suddenly.
  • If a child is missing, look in the water first. Seconds count in rescue efforts.

Dr. LoFrumento is a Morristown,  New Jersey-based pediatrician, author and mother who serves on the Advisory Board of the parenting television network, BabyFirstTV. BabyFirstTV (http://www.babyfirsttv.com/) is dedicated to providing innovative programming designed to inspire baby’s learning in a delightful and engaging way. The network is tailored to meet the needs of babies up to three years of age in a safe and inspiring commercial-free learning environment with such shows as “My Gym At Home,” and “I Can Sign.”