May 9, 2018 1:21 pm
By: Dr. Alicia Pressley-Moss
Pediatrician at Magnolia Pediatric Clinic
The April showers have subsided, and the flowers are blooming beautifully in northern Mississippi – yep, you guessed it – spring is in the air! This means that schools are letting out and families are gearing up for summer activities.
With the temperatures rising, kids and parents alike are looking for ways to beat the heat. Swimming is a great past time to cool off and enjoy yourself, however, precautions need to be taken with children present. Unfortunately, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in children under the age of five. Below are three tips that I have provided for those of us who will find ourselves at the pool this summer. Practicing these safety tips can offer parents the peace of mind knowing that their children are safe.
- First, make sure that there is a fence to keep unsupervised children away from the pool. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all pools have at least a four foot fence with a self-latch that children cannot reach. For above ground pools remove ladder when not in use.
- Second, life jackets should be worn by children who do not know how to swim. Life jackets are designed to keep the individual upright in water. Most people think of life jackets being extremely large, however, there are now several life jackets that can be purchased that are slimmer with more modern designs. While inflatable floaties look very cool, they are not recommended due to issues of deflation and the ease with which children can remove them.
- Third and finally, children must be supervised. Simply having a group of adults socializing near the pool is not enough. In order for the kids to be truly safe, a good rule of thumb is for an adult to always be within an arm’s length away from the children. This is due to the fact that kids can slip underneath water within seconds. Having an adult/lifeguard specifically designated to watch the kids at the pool not only helps to ensure safety, but also helps with confidence for kids to learn how to swim. In addition, remember that just because your child may swim like a fish does not mean they do not need supervision. Children are daredevils and, within the blink of an eye, could injure themselves, making them vulnerable to drowning.
Whether it be a pool in your backyard, a neighbor’s pool, or a community pool, it’s imperative to follow these steps to help prevent childhood drowning. I have fond memories of my backyard pool parties where my mom and dad were always present to make sure that everyone was safe, and I hope your children will too. This summer, I hope you all will have as much fun as I did growing up as a competitive swimmer. Enjoy your summer fun!
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center