Water Safety Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L
June is National Safety Month, which focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. This month, we will talk about increasing safety in a variety of situations, beginning this week with water safety! According to the National Safety Council:
“Not including boating incidents, about 10 people drown every day. It's the fifth leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death over all ages, and the #1 cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, mostly due to children falling into pools or being left alone in bathtubs.”
They recommend the following tips to increase safety and reduce risk:
- Always watch your child while he or she is bathing, swimming or around water
- Gather everything needed (towel, bath toys, sunscreen) before the child enters the water; if you must leave the area, take the child with you
- Empty all buckets, bathtubs and kiddie pools of water immediately after use and store them upside down and out of your child's reach
- Do not allow your child to play or swim in canals or streams
- Install a 5-foot-tall fence with self-closing gate latches around your pool or hot tub
- Consider installing door alarms to alert adults when a child has unexpectedly opened a door leading to a pool or hot tub
- Keep a phone and life preserver near the pool or hot tub in case of emergency
- Use snug-fitting life jackets instead of floaties, but remember that a child can still drown with a lifejacket on if not carefully watched
- Become certified in first aid and CPR
- Find age-appropriate swim lessons for your child, but keep in mind that lessons do not make your child "drown-proof"
Affordable swim lessons are offered through Beaufort County PALS ($45 for 8 half-hour group lessons, or $60 for 6 half-hour individual lessons) at their indoor and outdoor pools located throughout the county, and the YMCA (prices vary depending on group/individual and membership status).
Additional water safety resources: