Happy May, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful weather like I am. Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer, is right around the corner. Before we know it, we’ll be looking for ways to beat the stifling SC heat. And what better way to do this than a day at the pool, beach, or lake? It makes for a great family day filled with lots of laughter and memories. However, we have to take a look at some very scary numbers. Drowning remains the #1 cause of injury-related death in children aged 1-4 years old. Children are naturally drawn to water. We want them to have fun and enjoy being around water, but we have to remember that over 1,500 children and teens drown every year. Of these, 350 are children under 5 years old who drowned in pools. In SC alone, 6 children died in pools in 2014. The majority of these deaths occur between May and August. Memorial Day is when pools open and we start planning fun, water-based activities. We want everyone to get out there and enjoy a beautiful day on the water or by the pool, so here are some important tips to remember:
- Talk about water safety as a family. And revisit this topic often during the warmer months. Make sure that all caregivers know your family’s rules. A great rule of thumb is to always be within arm’s reach of your toddler. And for older children who can swim, always designate someone to watch them at all times. Even when lifeguards are on duty! It’s also advisable for parents and caregivers to be trained in CPR.
- Routine! Routines can prevent a child from entering the water without your knowledge. Depending on the age of your child, you can establish a rule such as, “before going in the water, we have to (change into a swim diaper/put on sun block/ say the code word)”.
- Life jackets! Establish a rule that your child must wear it at all times when near water (including on docks, boat ramps, boats, pool decks).
- Make sure that the pool fence is at least 4’ high and self-latches.
- Swim lessons! Lots of organizations provide swim lessons to babies under 12 months old, children of all ages, and adults. This is a priceless investment. Ask your EI or Case Manager about area programs.
Have fun out there! We can’t wait to see you at our Summer Play Groups. Stay tuned for details.