Keep your children safe around pools, beaches, creeks and rivers. Drowning can be silent, and can happen in a minute. While many parents are already water-aware, a reminder about water safety is never wasted. Tanya Boys from Tanya’s Tadpoles shares her list of safety tips for families. It is important to remember the combination of factors that best keeps our children safe in the water.
1. Ensure there’s effective adult supervision
This sounds obvious, but summer is the season of continual distractions. Constant supervision and being within arms’ length of children under 5 is imperative for water safety. If you’re at a party or gathering, one adult should be designated the main “Water Watcher” at all times, monitoring kids in the pool. Other adults also need to assist in supervision.
2. Have a well-installed and well-maintained pool fence
The safest option for pool fencing is a gate that is never propped open and that is clear of any items that can be dragged to the fence and climbed upon. It is recommended that pool fences are inspected every 4 years..
3. Enrol your children in swimming and water safety classes with accredited instructors
The school holidays is a great time to do an intensive block of lessons and skills can improve significantly over a short period of time. Ensure classes include water safety components. If you have a pool at home, practice swimming and water safety in your pool, including how to navigate to the side and steps. Better still, have lessons in your pool at home to reinforce these messages! Click here to view lots of local swimming classes.
4. Keep your children in swimming lessons until they are strong swimmers
Being a strong swimmer will equip them to deal with more challenging situations they may find themselves in, whereas simply being able to swim a short distance in a pool doesn’t mean they can save themselves in more difficult conditions. My 8 and 10 year old daughters are strong swimmers and recently swam out of a rip and to shore where an adult needed to be rescued by Surf Lifesavers.
5. Have clear pool rules that you discuss with your children and any visitors
Ensure they understand the importance of these rules for themselves and other visitors.
6. Learn CPR
It only takes 2 hours to learn how to save a life and this knowledge saves precious time and significantly increases the chance of survival in any near drowning event.
Research shows that the combination of factors above save lives. Also remember that pools and waterways are so much fun for us and our kids – swimming is such a healthy activity – so be safe and have fun with your family in and around water.