Infants, toddlers and children may get excited about large and small bodies of water. The older they get, the faster they put on their swimsuits, gear up the inflatable water aids and go for their big jump. To ensure their safety, children should be taught the do’s and don’t’s of what is expected of them near water — as soon as possible.
From a small bucket of water, to a large swimming pool, water can pose a serious threat to the safety of your little ones — depending on their age, size and maturity. Babies and toddlers are at an even greater risk. Therefore parents and caregivers have to be vigilantly aware of the implications of water safety.
The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends the commencement of swimming lessons from the age of one years old. However, this recommendation depends on the decision of both parents, as well as how regularly the little ones are exposed to water.
“Not every child will be ready to learn to swim at any age,” said Jeffrey Weiss, MD, FAAP and chief author of the policy.
This age was formerly set at four, but has now been reduced, because in the past, little evidence proved drowning would be prevented by swimming skills. The AAP concludes that new evidence suggests that 1-4 year olds with swimming skills are less likely to drown. The AAP further states that studies proving this are still limited as they do not explain the type of swimming lessons required. Nevertheless, the AAP says it recommends mandatory swimming lessons for all children aged 4 and younger.
- Parents should know how to swim. If not, swimming lessons are advised especially if there is a pool in the backyard. This process may take months yet is an integral part of your child’s safety. All other safety precautions should be taken to prevent drowning.
- Parents and caregivers should know how to perform CPR in case the need arises.
- Caregivers should have the numbers of parents nearby.
Safety tips in the bathroom
- Keep the bathroom door closed to prevent babies and toddlers from wandering around. As little as 1inch (2.5 centimetres) of water can be hazardous to their safety.
- Babies and toddlers should be under constant supervision while being given a bath. If an adult has any reason to leave this area (e.g. a knock at the door or phone call), a towel should be snugly wrapped around the little one and he should leave with the adult – not left alone. Even if the baby is in a bathtub seat, he may slither out of his seat and plunge into the water!
Safety tips in the pool area
- Parents should inform caregivers about any pool rules – parents may also write down these rules.
- Although they do not ensure total safety, pool covers and alarms should be installed. Even after installation, supervision should be continued as before.
- Toys should always be removed from the pool to prevent children from trying to retrieve them – possibly without parent’s awareness.
- Inflatable water aids should never be used without the supervision of a parent or caregiver. These floating aids may give a false impression of safety, but children may still slip out of them. They are by no means a substitute for adult supervision.
- After wading pools have been used, water should be removed immediately.
Initiating Infant and Child CPR
Perform CPR (click here for instructions)
Childproofing your home to ensure the safety of your children may prevent them from experiencing the unfavourable. From never leaving infants in baths unsupervised to safeguarding children from access the pool area, it all begins with you.
Parents play an integral part in making sure that children are not victims of drowning. This means that parents are encouraged to take part in swimming lessons, if they do not know how to swim. Swimming is both a lifesaving skill and a relaxing activity — an absolute must-know-how!