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Summer Pool Safety: 10 Tips for Every Mom

42-17282758.jpgSummer time means pool and beach time. Sadly,
African American kids drown at twice the rate of other children. Let’s
keep our kids safe in the pool or at the beach or lake this summer. Follow
these expert tips for safe summer fun!

10 Safe Swimming Tips for Moms and Dads
By Annie Friedman

       Summertime means hitting the pool and beach. But safety is important. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 300 children under the age of 5 drown in pools each year and additional 5,000-6,000 children are severely injured. African American and Latino children drown at a rate almost three times higher than Caucasian children in similar age groups. As Black moms and dads we have to educate ourselves and keep our kids safe in the pool or lake.
        Infant Swimming Resource (www.infantswim.com), the safest provider of self-rescue swimming lessons for babies and toddlers from six months to six years old, offers the following 10 tips to keep your kids safe and cool at the pool. 
1. Don’t turn your back on your child when they’re in the water. Even at the beach, make sure an adult is watching children swimming at no farther than 10 feet away. Put each adult in charge of supervising for a certain amount of time so children are being watched at all times. Also, that allows adults to take turns and not be supervising for the whole day. Even pool and beach lifeguards supervise for timed segments, so you too should try it out.

2. Dress your child in bright colors. By dressing them in bright colors when going swimming, it’s easier to find your child out of a large crowd. Try using a consistent bright color and style of swim suit so each family member is familiar with what the child is wearing.

3. Always have a picture of your child in the consistent "beach suit or lake outfit" with you. Just in case you lost sight of your child, you’ll have a picture to show the life guard or others people in the surrounding area. Make sure you put the picture in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get wet and stick it in your beach bag.

4. Always have your cell phone on you. Having your cell phone on you allows you to not only feel safer during emergency situations but be prepared as well. Have emergency numbers stored on your phone, including nearby relatives and friends as well as 911. Store it somewhere where it won’t get wet, such as in your purse or in a plastic bag.
5. Teach young children “self-rescue” skills in case they go unnoticed in a body of water.  It’s crucial that children, especially young children, know survival swimming such as how to roll back to float. A certified Infant Swimming Resource instructor can teach your child this during swimming lessons. If children know beach and lake water is different from pool water, they’ll feel more prepared and comfortable. Since it’s harder to see in lake and beach water and there are waves, make sure children practice survival swimming during swimming lessons.

6. Have a hook, rope and throw ring attached to a dock or pool fence so they can be used in a moment’s notice. Make sure you practice how to use them with your children but don’t let them practice unsupervised. These tools can help in any unforeseen situations that may pop up while swimming.

7. Life jackets must be worn in a boat or around rapidly moving water. Life jackets are important for the safety of your children but should not be substituted for adult supervision. When picking out a life jacket, read the warning labels because some may not allow your child to float face-up. Also, if you have a boat, store the life jackets on the boat so you never have to worry about bringing them.

8. Make and enforce swimming rules. Make sure children understand that it’s unsafe to run or play games around pools, beaches, etc. Also, don’t keep toys near pools since children may want to go retrieve them and accidentally fall in. Clean up all toys after use and put in a safe place.
9. Drain any water from the surface of the pool cover. If children fall onto the pool cover, they can still drown in even the smallest amount of water. Also, always remove the pool cover completely before letting anyone swim. Children can get caught under the pool cover and may not be able to breathe.
10. Make sure your pool is fenced in. Gates leading to the pool should be self-closing and self-latching so children can’t reach and get in without an adult. Fences not only provide privacy but can prevent children from going near the pool without you.

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