Statistics in Canada show that drowning is the second most common form of death for children under the age of 5, and it only takes 2.5 centimeters or one inch of water to pose a drowning hazard for a child. As summertime draws near, water activities grow in popularity, and safety precautions around water, including something as small as a bathtub, can help keep your little ones having fun all summer long.
If your child is too young to sit up on their own or wear a flotation device like a life jacket or water wings, he or she should be held by an adult at all times when around water. It is not safe to put them in a float and expect the float to do the work. Hold them up yourself or ask another adult to help you. Some swim schools offer lessons as early as six months if you want a little extra peace of mind as well.
The adventurous toddler stage child should remain within arm’s reach of an adult when in or around water. Kids in the toddler age range are brave and can let that bravery take them farther than their skill level. Keep them close to be able to help if they get in over their heads, pun intended. Swim lessons and flotation devices serve as an extra cushion.
Even after graduating from swim school, children are still not 100% safe in the water. They should always be supervised – in a 10-foot deep end or a 1-foot kiddie pool. The Lifesaving Society recommends one adult for every two children and one adult for every baby when it comes to supervising water activities. Know where they are at all times.
In addition to these age-specific tips, make sure there are no water-filled containers around your home. If there is a bucket outside that fills with rain, empty it. There are stories of children wanting to play in buckets, toppling into them, and drowning. After bathtime, drain the tub. Any container that holds water should be empty unless in use.
If you have a pool in the backyard, you need to set rules for the pool to be very clear. No swimming unless there is an adult present. It is also highly recommended and sometimes required to have a fence around the pool to keep wandering children out. There are horror stories of children reaching into the pool for a ball or something else and falling right in. Know where your kids are at all times, but especially when the weather is warm and the pool uncovered. Taking a local first aid or CPR course would not hurt either.
Summer break should be fun and filled with activities, and some of those activities are based in the water. Just keep eyes and ears open when at the beach, pool, lake, or other bodies of water, and don’t let the water-filled containers and stay there. Empty buckets of rainwater and kiddie pools any time they have water in them.