Keeping Your Children Safe Around Water
Michael Arbel, MD, is a pediatrician on staff at Banner Estrella Medical Center. His office can be reached at 623-931-3028.
Question: With the numerous reports this summer of near-drownings in the Valley, what precautions can I take to make sure my children are safe around water?
Answer: One of the essential elements that help us survive Arizona summers is water. Pools, lakes, rivers, and even sprinklers become daily spots of refuge from the blazing sun and ridiculously hot temperatures. However, despite water’s ability to cool, clean and entertain us, it can also be dangerous.
For children 14 and younger, drowning is the second leading cause of accident-related deaths. Drownings often happen quickly and quietly when kids are left unsupervised near bodies of water, even if only for a few minutes.
From an ocean to your own bathtub, the most important thing you can do to ensure the safety of your children is to vigilantly watch them around water. Some additional water safety measures include: not allowing kids to run and rough house around water; preventing diving into shallow pools or off unsafe surfaces; fencing in all sides of residential pools; keeping kids from chewing gum or eating while in the water; and, making sure life jackets and appropriate floatation devices are used consistently and properly. Swimming lessons are available for babies starting at six months of age and older.
Water safety also includes being prepared in case an accident does happen. Learning CPR only takes a couple hours yet can be vital for saving a life in the midst of an emergency. It is also important to keep rescue equipment and emergency contact information near pools, other widely trafficked bodies of water, and aboard watercrafts.
Contact your pediatrician with any additional questions or if you would like to receive more information on water safety.
Reviewed July 2010