How to have a water safe summer

Water play is a sure-fire way to happy and exhausted children, but it definitely means extra vigilance for you! Here are some summer water-safety reminders.

Whether it’s dipping cups into a bucket full of water, paddling in a plastic shell or jumping into a pool, the joy that results from combining children with water play, is immense. These warm weather activities are wonderful, but there’s no two ways about it, they mean extra vigilance for you! Here are some summer water-safety reminders:

Control their access to water

If you have a pond or pool on your property, it’s essential that you make sure no child can reach the water when unsupervised. You can install a fence or a child-proof cover, and must be diligent about locking the gate or re-fitting the cover once you’re done with using the water. Always empty paddling pools after use and if you’re in a region with water restrictions, keep water saving buckets out of reach.

Watch them in the water

When your child is playing in water, watch them and do absolutely nothing else. Don’t check your phone, turn your back to have a conversation, or think you can just run inside to turn off the kettle. Even children who can swim need constant supervision, and when they are small and can’t swim, it’s best to be within reaching distance. Never think that a floating device means you don’t have to watch them, and at social gatherings around a pool, make sure there’s a dedicated adult on the edge of the pool who’s not expected to socialise while watching.

Get them swimming

Carol Heij, of Cape Town based swimming school Cape Swim, believes that

swimming is a life skill and that the earlier you start the better, especially before any fear kicks in. For Carol, it’s ultimately about making the pool a fun and friendly space – she has babies as young as six months old in the pool with mom or dad. “As children become capable, we focus on safely entering and exiting the pool, finding the wall if in trouble and kicking, kicking, kicking”. You can help, says Carol, by spending time with your child in the pool this holiday, practising the kicking, blowing bubbles and going underwater, climbing in and out of the pool and fetching toys under the water with eyes open. But whether a child can swim or not, Carol maintains you should “never ever leave a child unattended around water”.

Be prepared for emergencies

Talk to your children about the dangers of open water and what they should do if they fall in. Carol’s advice is to get your child swimming without goggles, so that opening their eyes underwater isn’t a shock. When the pool’s open, always have a phone nearby and know the emergency numbers. Learn or refresh your CPR skills and if a child is missing, always check the pool first.

Make sure everyone in your household, from employees to grandparents, understands how to be vigilant and water-safe this summer and then enjoy – especially the quiet evenings once little ones fall early into bed, completely exhausted.  

Sources:

https://www.parent24.com/Family/Health/Water-safety-20150826

http://www.pediatriccarectr.com/summer-safety-tips-water-precaution/

http://www.medicalwesthospital.org/summer-safety-02.php

https://www.saintlukeskc.org/health-library/keeping-children-safe-and-around-water

https://www.childsafe.org.za/drown.htm

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/1/178

https://www.verywellfamily.com/when-should-kids-start-swim-lessons-1257366

Choosing the right medical aid is no joke, but we’ll leave you smiling.