Water Safety starts at Home.When you think of kids and water, you may think of recreational areas such as pools, water parks, lakes and the ocean. But have you thought about the areas in your home where kids have access to water and where there could be a potential accident?
Use these tips for water safety at home, whether your kids are in the bath, pool, around paddling pools or even tubs of water.
Be vigilant at all times.
Drownings are silent and can happen in just 20 seconds, it’s not what you see in the movies.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between 1 and 4 years old.
It is avoidable with layers of protection.
But it’s not just the very young who are at risk…… it’s the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 19 and under.
Children less than a year old are more likely to drown at home in the bath or a bucket.
Watch the kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted.
Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so keep them within an arm’s reach.
Drowning prevention organisations recommend that you empty tubs, buckets, containers and kids’ pools immediately after use. But that’s not often practical, tubs are used to collect and store rain water, we can’t empty the pool every day but you can definitely take precautions.
In and around the home
Keep toilet lids and doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed when not in use, empty the bath.
Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least 1.3metres with self-closing and self-latching gates.
Remove toys and inflatables from the pool, these stir attention for children and often invite them to the pool side.
Layers of protection
As part of water safety precautions in and around the home, the risk of drowning can drastically reduce if your child can swim.
The ability to be water safe is paramount but you can never drown proof your child.
A simple accident can lead to a major incident if your child slips and falls into the pool without having some basic knowledge on what to do in such an event.
Your child doesn’t need style or grace to self-rescue but what it does need is the ability to get back to the side and hold on, and/or get out.
The Dangers of Open Water
- Limited Visibility– Water in lakes and ponds can be murky, hiding hazards such as rocks, logs and uneven surfaces. Limited visibility can also make it difficult to see if a child falls in. If lifeguards are present, ask about the safest area to swim. When entering unfamiliar water, go in feet first and wade out slowly.
- Depth, Distance and Drop-offs– Unlike a pool, open water rarely has depth markings, making it difficult to know if kids are getting into water that is over their heads. When swimming in open water, it can also be hard to perceive distance from the shore. Additionally, while there may be a gradual slope as you enter the water near shore, there might be a sudden drop-off further out. When looking for safe place to swim, choose a designated swimming area and check for signs warning about potential hazards.
- Currents and Tides– Currents in rivers, creeks and streams can be fast-moving and unpredictable. While some strong currents such as rapids are visible, others can flow under the water’s surface. In oceans or lakes, waves and rip currents can be dangerous. Families should avoid swimming at unsupervised beaches or in areas not designated for swimming. Before allowing kids to swim in open water, make sure they know how to deal with a crashing wave and escape a rip tide or strong current.
- Water Temperature– Open water is usually colder than water in a pool, which can affect a child’s swimming ability. What’s more, falling into cold water can result in shock, which can lead to panic and even drowning. When participating in boating or other recreational water activities, families should remember to dress for the water temperature, rather than the air temperature, and to always wear an-approved life vest/jacket.
Water Safety Flags and their meanings
Information by https://swimfin.co.uk/.