Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Drowning is second only to accidental injuries when it comes to causes of death for children under 14. Drowning can happen very quickly, in some cases, in less than 2 minutes after a person’s head goes under water. Drowning occurs when a person gets too much water in their lungs, and when that happens, the lungs can’t get enough oxygen to the brain or the rest of the body.
Many drownings occur when children accidentally fall into a swimming pool, but they can happen anywhere that there is water.
Point out depth markers on swimming pools to your child. Children may think that the water they are about to jump into is deeper than it actually is, and if they jump or dive in, they can hit the bottom and seriously injure themselves. You should also check the water temperature because cold water can send the body into shock and make blood pressure and heart rate increase and your child might open his or her mouth in the water and breathe some in. Cold water also slows down your muscles, which makes it hard to swim.
Here are some guidelines to make sure that your child is safe near the pool:
Tell your child to never go in a pool if there is not an adult around, even if it is in your yard. And never leave your young child in or near a pool alone.
Make sure your child knows that fences are around pools for a reason and that he or she should never enter the gated area if there is not an adult with him or her. If you own a pool at home, fences should completely separate the pool from your house and should be 4 feet high and completely surround the pool. Gates on the fence should be self-closing and self-latching and not easily opened by a child.
Go over the pool rules with your child and make sure that he or she obeys them.
Stay within arm’s reach from your child so that you can grab him or her quickly if necessary.
Tell your older child to swim with a buddy.
If you put a flotation device on your child that is learning to swim, make sure that it is Coast Guard-approved. Floaties, air mattresses, inner tubes, and beach balls are toys, not life saving devices.
Tell your child to walk in the pool area. Make sure that he or she knows that running is not allowed by the pool.
To prevent choking hazards while swimming, make sure that your child never eats or chews gum while in the water.
The pool area should be equipped with a telephone, a “shepard’s hook” and a life preserver.
Remove all toys from the pool when you are done swimming so that your young child is not tempted to reach in for them.
Teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water.
Contact the local Red Cross or community center to find out about swimming lessons and CPR training. The phone number for the Galveston branch of the Red Cross is (409) 763-5971.
Make sure that your child wears waterproof sunscreen while swimming.
Make sure that pool areas are well-lit if swimming at night.
Stop swimming as soon as you see or hear a storm.