1. Never swim alone.
Swimming should only happen when a lifeguard is on duty. Lifeguards don’t just watch the people in the pool, lake or ocean. Their job is also to watch the water and advise swimmers on any safety concerns and questionable conditions that might arise. They are also trained to respond quickly when something happens.
2. Swimming lessons reduce a child’s risk of drowning by 88%.
The study, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, found children who participated in swim lessons had an 88 percent reduced risk of drowning.
3. Never take your eyes off your child while they are in the water. Drowning is silent and takes two minutes. A child can drown in less than one inch of water.
PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE. We understand that parents need to relax too. But when your children are in the water, it’s time to be alert. As a general rule of thumb, a parent should be within arm’s reach of a young child at all times. This rule is true whether they’re swimming in a pool, lake, ocean or bathtub. Parents of older children should stay close and keep eyes on their children at all times. Even ones who are strong swimmers need supervision because they’re prone to trying tricks, flips and dives — all things that can be dangerous in the water.
The best way to remain vigilant when your children are swimming is to put your phone away, and simply enjoy hanging out with each other! If other adults are present, you can take turns watching the pool, so everyone gets an equal chance to relax. Working together to protect your children is the best way to prevent an accident.
4. Only 56% of adults can perform all five basic skills needed to swim safely.
A report from the American Red Cross shows many Americans believe they are better swimmers than they actually are. While 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent of them can perform all five basic skills needed to swim safely.
5. The safest place in the water is on your back floating so you can breath and call for help.
Floating allows you to stay near the surface of the water where you can rest and get a breath while waiting for help to arrive in the event of an emergency. Floating on your back is one of the first things you learn in swim lessons.
6. Drowning is the number one cause of accidental deaths for children between ages of 1-4.
7. Flotation devices should never be a substitute for supervision.
8. Learn CPR in case of emergency.
Upper Valley Aquatic Center has CPR/AED courses for all your life saving needs. These courses are designed for regular people who want to learn how to save lives in an emergency. You can also be re-certified to have the latest protocols on how to save a life.
9. Don’t Play Breath Holding Games
While swimming, children shouldn’t hold their breath for a long time, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe risks. Make sure children understand competing to see who can hold their breath underwater, and other similar games, can be dangerous and should not be part of any water-related activities.
If a swimmer holds their breath too long or hyperventilates before going underwater — meaning they are breathing deeper or faster — they are at a higher risk of passing out underwater. Children who swim competitively should learn proper breathing techniques to avoid problems during practices or meets.
10. Don’t Jump in the Water to Save a Friend: Reach, Throw, Don’t Go
If a child sees their friend struggling to keep their head above water, their first instinct may be to jump in to help. However, doing so could lead to both people drowning. Reach, throw, don’t go technique, which involves using a long object to pull a struggling swimmer to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without putting themselves at risk.