Swimming safety is an important topic for all families, especially those with access to a swimming pool or open water (lake, river, ocean, etc.). Young children are at high risk for drowning, but it is even a concern for older children, teenagers, and adults. Swimming can be a very fun activity and is great exercise, but water safety should be a top priority around any body of water.
Pools should be enclosed with a fence, including backyard pools, which should be separated from the house with a fence as well. Fences are recommended to be at least 4 feet tall and should not be easy to climb. When children are near a pool or other open body of water, adult supervision is necessary, even if they are not intending on swimming. There should always be an adult nearby monitoring the child; for children under the age of 5 years old, the adult should stay within arms reach both in and out of the water. When near open water, such as at the beach or near a lake, a lifeguard should always be present when swimming. If out on a boat, children, teens, and adults should all wear lifejackets, even if they are able to swim. When a pool is not in use, be sure to remove all toys and other tempting objects from the area. Keep the pool gate closed to prevent wandering children from entering the water unsupervised. Pool alarms may also be installed and used during non-swimming times to alert nearby adults if the water is disturbed unknowingly.
Swimming lessons can be an effective way to lower risk for drowning. The AAP recommends starting swim lessons between the ages of 1-4 years old, and recommends parent participation with young children. Although swim lessons are very helpful, it does not completely eliminate risk for drowning and all water safety precautions should still be maintained. For more information on drowning prevention, visit this link or call to set up an appointment with one of our providers!
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (March 15, 2019). Drowning Prevention for Curious Toddlers: What Parents Need to Know. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Water-Safety-And-Young-Children.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (March 15, 2019). Swim Lessons: When to Start and What Parents Should Know. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/swim-lessons.aspx