1. Always designate someone as a “water watcher”. That means their only job is to watch the kids in the pool; no phones, books, or alcohol allowed. When multiple adults are around, everyone assumes someone else is watching, and that often means no one is paying attention to the kids in the pool. Children can drown in seconds and drowning is often silent.
2. The beach is similar to the pool – always designate a water watcher. Here, there are more risks to monitor. Be aware of waves and currents that can pull kids under water. Make sure everyone is wearing proper swimwear: pockets can fill with sand and heavy clothes can absorb enough water to weigh down children playing in the waves.
3. Dry drowning is when the vocal cords spasm and prevent air from entering the lungs. Secondary drowning is when a child inhales water, causing the lungs to swell and creating a breathing difficulty. Both of these can occur several days after a close call in the water. If you notice signs of distress after a water incident call 911 immediately.
4. Parents should teach young children never to go near a pool unless they are with an adult. “Never swim alone” is a cardinal rule for everyone, adult or child. Parents are responsible for being hyper-vigilant throughout the summer months, putting up pool fences, using door alarms, and ensuring children wear life jackets on boats.
Have a fun and safe summer!