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The COVID-19 may have shut down swimming pools across the Western World, but throughout the summer, people were still finding ways to have a bit of water fun. With decent summer weather for many people, the sales of pools for the backyard went through the roof, with people opting for everything from little blow-up paddle pools to full blown construction projects. While we are all hoping that come summer 2021, the public swimming pools will all be open and back to normal business, we can’t see the popularity – and convenience – of having splashy fun in your back yard disappearing anytime soon.
However, there is a rather sad statistic that has to be shared with anything to do with water – drowning is the single leading cause of death for children aged one to four, and one of the top causes of death for teenagers. Drowning can happen in an instant – it just takes twenty seconds of having your eye and attention elsewhere, and tragedy can strike.
Here, we look at some basic water safety tips to help you to protect your kids while still having plenty of fun.
Teach them to swim as early as possible
Of course, being able to swim is no guarantee against drowning. However, earning how to swim from an early age gives them the tools to know how to get out of trouble much quicker and reduces the chances of it ending badly. In fact, according to the USA Swimming Foundation, formal swimming lessons can reduce the chances of drowning by as much as 88 per cent. Spend some time searching for and asking ‘what is the best swim school near me?’
Teach them to stay away from water without adult supervision
Children can be unpredictable and we all know that they do not always do what they are told or listen to instructions, particularly toddlers and younger children. However, spend some time drilling in the importance of respecting bodies of water – and that means staying away from bodies of water unless they have adult supervision and permission, be it from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles or teachers. Never let children be supervised in the water by other children, even if they are older or seem responsible. Remember, it can take less than one inch of water and less than twenty seconds for tragedy to strike.
This tip is more for the supervising adults than it is for the children, but we can’t hammer home the importance of supervision when it comes to playing in or with water. That means not picking up your book and keeping half an eye on them, nor checking your social media or running inside to grab a top-up of your lemonade. It means not taking your eyes off them for a second. If you do need to, call another adult to come and take over or get the children out of the pool.
Water play and swimming is an activity that almost every child and adult enjoys, but please, do it safely.