Pool parties, beach birthdays, boat days – water activities are a way of life in South Florida. Yet, accidental drowning is the leading cause of death among infants and small children in Florida, and Broward and Miami-Dade counties lead the state. That’s why it’s critical that our children are equipped with the necessary water safety skills at an early age.
May is National Water Month and it’s the perfect time to assess the water safety skills in your family. Though it may seem like your child is comfortable in bodies of water, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have right lifesaving skills. Use the below checklist to find out if your child can swim.
Can your child…
- …swim 30 yards without stopping?
- …flip over on their back and float for 30 seconds?
- …tread water for 30 seconds?
- …exit the pool without assistance?
If the answer to even one of these questions is no, it’s important to enroll your child into swim lessons as soon as possible. Formal swimming lessons can reduce childhood drowning by 88 percent. And it’s never too late to brush up on your swim skills as an adult! 24 percent of American parents have low confidence with water activities and bodies of water. Taking adult swim lessons puts you in a position to save yourself and your family members in case of an emergency.
No matter the level of swimming skills in your family, it is still important to be diligent around water. Here are three tips to keep you and your family safe throughout the year.
- Be a water watcher.
A drowning can occur in seconds. Constant active adult supervision is essential. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in the pool or lake, make sure your children are in within arm’s reach at all times.
- Get protection.
Installation of door alarms and proper pool barriers at your home can minimize the risk of drowning.
- Reach, throw, don’t go.
If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, they should “reach, throw, don’t go.” Use a long object to pull the friend to safety – without jeopardizing their own safety.
Water safety and drowning prevention is year-round. Let’s all do our part to raise awareness, practice safe behaviors and keep our loved ones safe and sound.