Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. On average, 3,533 people die as a result of drowning each year, and most of those deaths are children under the age of 4, who drown in backyard swimming pools. The tragedy of these statistics is that nearly all drowning deaths are preventable.
To help educate children, parents, families and swim instructors on preventive measures to avoid a drowning incident, US Swim School Association, the preeminent swim school organization in the country, has compiled the latest life-saving water safety and swim instruction tips for National Water Safety Month in May.
There are several standard water safety precautions recommended to parents including: keeping children under constant supervision, enrolling children in swimming lessons, knowing CPR, and having pool fences and barriers installed. In addition to these vital steps, here is a list of tips parents can use to build extra layers of protection for their children around water from Sue Mackie, executive director of the United States Swim School Association.
Drowning prevention and water safety tips
• Create a verbal cue for your toddler or child that must be given by you before he can enter the pool.
• Never allow your baby or toddler in the pool without a swim diaper.
• Create a process the child must go through before entering a pool, such as putting on a swim diaper, a swimsuit, and applying sunscreen.
• Never use flotation devices or water wings when swimming or when teaching kids to swim.
• Children should learn to swim without goggles. Teach your children to open their eyes under water; if they fall in, they can find the side of the pool or a step and get out safely.
• For very young children, practice having them put their entire face under water in the bathtub and blow bubbles to build their comfort with water.
• Create a water safety plan for your family and have water emergency drills with your kids — covering how to recognize the signs of someone struggling in water and what to do in this type of emergency.
• Make sure your guests and kids’ friends know your pool rules before they go outside and get in the pool.
• Start swim lessons at 6 months of age and continue them year-round.
• Always make sure your children wear life jackets on boats, personal watercraft, and in open bodies of water.
For more information on US Swim School Association, visit: www.usswimschool.org.