Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Safe Swimming Rules!

Warm temperatures, blue skies and sunny days make summer time the best time to enjoy outdoor activities. Swimming is by far the most popular summer activity and can provide fun for people of all ages. However, for young children, swimming can be dangerous, so proper safety precautions need to be taken.

Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 require constant supervision around water, and even shallow water can present a safety hazard for these youngsters.

* Use “touch supervision.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adults be within an arm’s length of their toddler at all times while the child is in the water. Inflatable flotation devices should not be used as a substitution for supervision, as the devices could deflate at any time, leaving your child in danger.

*Fence in backyard pools. If you have a pool at home, a fence needs to surround the perimeter of the pool. This fence should be at least 4 feet high and contain a self-closing and locking mechanism. Ensure the fence works properly to prevent your child from being able to open the gate to get to the pool. Also, the fence should be constructed out of wood instead of chain links, so the child cannot climb over the fence.

*Don’t think your child is safe in the water just because he or she has had swimming lessons. Until the age of 4, many pediatricians discourage formal swimming lessons because children younger than 4 are generally not developmentally ready to swim on their own. If your child has had swimming lessons, do not rely solely on the instruction provided to keep them safe. Even children who know how to swim can find themselves in dangerous situations.

*Remove toys from the swimming pool and empty wading pools after every use. By leaving water in a wading pool or toys in a swimming pool, you are increasing the temptation for little ones to jump in the water while mom and dad are not looking. By removing toys, curious toddlers will not be tempted to get back in the water to retrieve them.

By properly supervising your toddler during all water activities, you will ensure that your day at the pool will be filled with nothing but fun.

Credit goes to St. Vincent Children Hospital in Indianapolis. Reviewed by Ralph Reiff, director of Sports Medicine and Sports Performance at St.Vincent Sports Performance–Northwest.

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