With the summer heat (and in the South, do we ever get the summer heat!) comes activities that help us cool off and have fun as well. Swimming, sprinklers, and all sorts of water toys abound from now until well into the fall. And, while water play is one of the hottest activities (no pun intended) this time of year, it is even more important to pay attention to a few rules around the water.
- Most importantly, NEVER leave children unattended around water. Even a sprinkler toy can be a safety hazard as the ground and surrounding area become wet and slick. Cement patios and even wooden decks can become slick with water, and a running child on a slick surface will almost always lead to a hard fall. Running inside to grab the phone or find a towel is just opening a window for a disaster to happen. Make sure someone is always watching the children around water.
- Floatation devices often leave us with a false sense of security. Just because your child is wearing a life vest or other floatation apparatus does not mean they can’t be harmed in the water. Floaties especially pose a dangerous risk; they may slip down the child’s arm or lose air, resulting in a very unsafe situation for a small child. Make sure your child is always close enough for you to grab should they start to have a problem in the water (especially the nonswimmers!).
- SWIM LESSONS! If your child, at any age, is not proficient enough to swim across a pool or dive underwater to retrieve an object, please consider enrolling them in some formal swim instruction. The best defense against childhood drownings is a good offense. Be proactive and teach your child techniques for survival in water.
- CPR for you…no one wants to be put in a position to have to use CPR on someone, especially a young child. But, being prepared is the only way to face an accident should one arise. It is far better to be trained in CPR and never have to use it than to be at the scene of an accident and not have the tools needed to save a life.
- Take care of your skin! While you should protect your skin year round, the sun is most damaging this time of year when we tend to wear less clothing and stay outside for longer periods of time. Always apply sunscreen (at least 30 SPF on children) prior to being outside, and reapply often, especially after swimming or being wet.
Summer is always more fun when water is involved, and as long as you follow a few simple rules for staying safe, everyone will have a terrific time!