Swimming safety tips for children and families

Start water safety with your children when they're young.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 10:14 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Now that most area pools are open, and boating season is well underway, we have a few safety reminders before you head to the water with your kids.

According to the CDC, more children ages 1–4 die from drowning than anything else, except birth defects.

Goldfish Swim School offered a few tips that you can take with you to the pool.

It starts with basic safety.

”Getting ahead of the game and teaching your kids to be safe around the water, to respect the water and have a healthy fear of it, it’s really important going ahead and introducing those basics,” said Fiona Perdue, lesson quality coordinator at the Goldfish Swim School.

It’s important to do this at a young age, Perdue said. “How to hold their breath, float on their back, climb out of the pool, are all things to listen to help them as they move through life.”

It’s why one family has their young son, Sebastian, in swimming lessons right now.

“He learns to float on his back,” said Shana Good, Sebastian’s mother. “I think he can float on his back for 10 seconds. They teach them when they get tired to roll over and also to swim to the wall, you know, just like a safe way to exit, you know, the pool.”

He’s learning skills that could save his life in an emergency. His family lives at Lake Anna, so they enjoy boat rides and sitting in the sand.

Perdue says to remember that open water like beaches and lakes carry different safety risks for kids.

“It’s very important to be paying attention to your children at all times when you’re out in that area where the moment they go below the surface, you can’t see them,” said Perdue.

She also says to consider bright-colored swimsuits that stand out in the water.

Blue and green may blend, but Fiona says pink, orange and fluorescent can be a lot better.

“Even just being around the water, kids can still fall in,” said Perdue. “Things can still happen. So if an adult is going in front of a swim, you need to have another guardian ready to watch them and you don’t have to switch off.”

And Perdue says don’t depend on the lifeguard, who has to enforce rules and watch the whole area. Watch your child and your family, including adults.

Be mindful that your child may need to brush up on skills and rules at the start of the season. Talk about it before you’re in front of the water. And consider lessons, if you need them.

Also keep in mind that floats can block your visibility of your child. Remember that drowning is usually silent.

You can’t breathe, so you can’t call for help or say you’re in danger. Have a designated water watcher at all times. Also, think about how you’d respond in an emergency before the day starts. Know the address of where you are and keep your phone fully charged.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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