South Africans are lucky to enjoy great summer weather with hot, sunny days and warm nights. South African families enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities and one of the most popular pastimes is swimming or water sports. With an abundance of great beaches, municipal pools and even home swimming pools, parents need to educate their kids on the dangers of water and also teach them good water safety from an early age.
The sad fact is that few realize the importance of water safety before it is too late and all too often we hear of incidents of drowning in family swimming pools, rivers and coastal drowning.
Here are a few ways to decrease the risk of water accidents.
- Sign up your kids for swimming lessons from a young age, in fact the younger the better. Aquatots (www.swimmingschool.co.za/aquatots.htm) offers swimming lessons for infants aged from 0 years old. If a child can swim, their risk of drowning is significantly decreased.
- If you have a pool at home, make sure that when it is not in use, it is covered with a pool net at all times. There are also pool alarms available on the market for added safety and peace of mind. When kids are swimming, ensure that there is continual adult supervision, no matter how old they are.
- If kids are left in the care of a nanny during the day, it may be a good idea to send the child minder on a first-aid course. Not only will this help the child minder to calmly deal with an incident involving water, but the nanny will be able to cope with any other life-threatening incident.
- Swimming pools are not the only danger to kids. Spas as well as fish ponds and water features can also pose great dangers to a toddler or crawling infant. Ensure the same precautions are taken and that the spa or pond is covered at all times. A child can drown in a bucket of water and as such parents must see all items around the home as possible dangers and take the necessary precautionary measures.
- When visiting a beach or a municipal pool, besides keeping an eye on kids, parents should ensure that a lifeguard is on duty.
- If going out on a boat, or yacht, adults must make certain that lifejackets are available and that the person in charge of the vessel is qualified to drive and is not intoxicated.
- As kids grow continue to make them aware of the dangers of water.