66% of houses in Australia have backyard pools, so it’s safe to say that no one loves a pool day more than Aussies. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, drowning accidents result in more than 540 hospitalizations every year, with children under 5 making up the highest percentage. Follow some basic water-safety rules to ensure your family doesn’t become part of the statistic. So, whether you’re heading to the beach or hanging out by the pool, here are 6 ways to keep your kids safe around water this summer.
1. Never leave children unattended around water
The easiest way to keep your kids safe is to ensure they’re never left unsupervised around water. Children, even competent swimmers, should always be supervised while in the water.
It takes less than a minute for things to go sideways. If you have to step away from the pool, get your child out of the water first.
It’s also important to consider other bodies of water that children might have access to, such as ponds, paddling pools, rainwater storage, and buckets. Again, ensure these are either covered over, emptied after use, or inaccessible to children without an adult’s presence.
2. Remember, armbands are not safety devices
While armbands are a popular choice for new swimmers, many swimming experts advise against them and other wearable floatation devices. This is because they promote a false sense of security.
Many people think flotation devices will prevent drownings; therefore, children don’t need to be supervised as closely while wearing them, but that is not the case. Unlike traditional life jackets, which can turn the wearer onto their back, armbands and the like do not prevent you from remaining face down in the water.
If you choose to use them, remember to follow water safety basics and act as if they’re not there.
3. Keep the pool area clear of trip hazards and uneven surfaces (where possible)
What happens around the pool is just as important as what happens inside it, when it comes to keeping kids safe around water. Keep the pool area clear of trip hazards by tidying away toys, hanging the towels somewhere, and removing unnecessary furniture.
This simple step will drastically reduce the risk of trips and falls. And combined with a no-running poolside rule, it is an effective way to keep kids of all ages safe.
4. Keep kids protected from the sun
Australia has some of the highest UV levels in the world. According to the Cancer Council, it’s strong enough to cause sunburn in as little as 11 minutes. While everyone knows to Slip-Slop-Slap, even waterproof SPF 50+ might not offer enough protection for swimmers in and out of the water all day.
Add shade to your pool area via an awning, umbrella, or tree. This is another good way to keep kids safe around water this summer and protected from the sun.
5. Learn basic First Aid & CPR skills
Even with eagle eyes and a spotless pool area, accidents can — and do — happen, so it’s essential to be prepared. Learn basic First Aid and CPR skills. This will mean you know exactly what to do in an emergency.
6. Enroll your child in swimming lessons
Swimming lessons help children learn safe swimming habits by teaching them important water safety skills. Private swim lessons offer one-to-one coaching that can lead to faster skill development and better retention. This is a great way to keep your kids safe around water this summer and beyond. It’s never too early or too late to learn to swim, and the confidence they develop in the water, as a result, will stay with them for life.
With a watchful eye, a tidy pool area, and the fundamental swimming skills to stay safe in the water, you can ensure a safe and fun-filled summer for your whole family! Follow these 6 ways to keep your kids safe around water this summer.