Playing in pools, lakes, ponds, and rivers can be a blast, but water can also be dangerous. Almost 1,000 kids die each year by drowning. In fact it is the second leading cause of accidental death in young children.
Kids need constant supervision around water. Always watch children closely when they’re in or near any water. Young children can have problems even in very shallow water. If you or your children cannot swim we recommend taking lessons. We also recommend investing in proper-fitting, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices. Kids should wear them whenever they are near water. Always follow the recommendations on the labels to ensure a proper fit. For kids younger than 5 years old, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and a head support.
Be aware of water temperatures before you enter any water. Avoid swimming in very cold or hot water. If you or your child is shivering get out of the water and warm up. Also remember to secure your pools, ponds, spas, and hot tubs so children cannot enter them without adult supervision. No one should swim alone. Children and adults should not run or rough-house around pools. Never dive into any water unless you know the depth. Be aware of jagged rocks, branches, broken glass, and other hazards below the surface. Be mindful of obstacles, waves, and currents. Avoid swimming in inclement weather especially if there is lightning.
Water illnesses can happen when someone has contact with, swallows, or breathes in water that is contaminated with germs. Kids with diarrhea should not swim. Young children should wear swim diapers and elastic banded tight fitting swim wear over the top. Provide frequent bathroom breaks for kids who are already toilet trained. Avoid and discourage urinating in the water. Remember to wash yours and your children’s hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers. After swimming, dry the ears well with a towel/washcloth, tilting each ear down to help water drip out of the ear canal. This can help prevent Swimmer’s Ear (an infection due to trapped water in the ear canal).
It is a good idea to learn CPR and know where rescue equipment is located and understand how to use it. Contact a lifeguard or call 911 if an emergency arises and teach your kids to do the same.
Richard Donaldson, DO
Canyon View Family Medicine