Health Tip: When Small Children Play Near Water

— Anyone — especially a young child — can drown in only a few inches of water.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says it doesn’t recommend any swim instruction for kids under the age of 1.

And even after a child learns how to swim, the child should be supervised by a parent or guardian (preferably one who knows CPR) carefully, the academy warns.

The academy offers these additional suggestions:

  • Be aware of small bodies of water a child might encounter, such as a bathtub, fishpond, ditch, fountain, rain barrel, watering can or bucket.
  • An adult should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision,” whenever an infant, toddler or young child is near water.
  • Empty and put away an inflatable pool after a child is finished swimming.
  • Do not allow running near a pool or pushing others under water.
  • Don’t allow a child to use an inflatable toy or mattress in place of a life jacket.
  • Clearly mark a pool’s deep and shallow ends.
  • Any pool should be completely surrounded with at least a 4-foot-high fence.
  • If your pool has a cover, remove it completely before allowing swimming.
  • Keep a safety ring with a rope beside the pool at all times.
  • Install a phone in the pool area with emergency numbers clearly marked.
  • A child must always wear a fitted life jacket when swimming or riding in a boat.
  • Any adult should not drink alcohol when swimming.
  • Eliminate distractions, such as a phone call or working on the computer, while a child is in the water.

Posted: August 2018

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