How to Keep Kids Safe in Open Water

Tragically, 1000 children in the US drown each year, most between May and August and most in open water: lakes, ponds, rivers, oceans, canals, reservoirs and retention ponds. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a ten-year-old is three times more likely to die in open water than in a pool and older teens are eight times more likely to die in open water. A new report by Safe Kids Worldwide, “Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drownings and Risks for Kids” identifies who is at greater risk of drowning.

  • 8 in 10 open water drownings are males
  • African American children are twice as likely to drown in open water than White children.
  • Children in tribal communities are at even greater risk.

WHAT PARENTS CAN DO TO PROTECT CHILDREN IN OPEN WATER

  • Teach your children to swim or enroll them in swim lessons.
  • Keep your eyes on your children when they are in the water.
  • Keep younger children within arm’s reach of an adult.
  • Make sure that older children swim with a partner every time.
  • Make sure children wear a US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device that is appropriate for their age, weight and water activity. Choose one for children under five that has a head support and strap between the legs.
  • Swim in designated swimming and recreational areas.
  • Teach children about open water: limited visibility, depth, uneven surfaces, current, undertows, big waves, changing conditions.

5 WAYS TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD IS CONFIDENT IN OPEN WATER

  1. Can your child run to the water, jump in and come back up?
  2. While in the water, can your child orient him/her self to you on the shore and come safely back to you?
  3. Can your child tread water for 30 to 60 seconds?
  4. Can your child swim in a forward motion with head up and breathing?
  5. Can your child exit the water safely?

This information is from the website, Safe Kids Worldwide.


About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Home and A Quiet Place. I have conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.

 

 

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Peggy O'Mara

About Peggy O'Mara

Editor and Publisher of peggyomara.com. Longtime natural living advocate, award winning writer, and independent thinker.

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