7 common mistakes parents make that increase the risk of child drowning
Are you making these mistakes too?
Mums and dads, are you ready for those hot sweaty days ahead? We bet your kids are. They must be gearing up to splash around in the pool to cool down. But as those days approach, it’s time for us parents to make sure we know how to keep our little ones safe and prevent kids drowning.
The fact is that many parents often underestimate drowning risks. Yes, you read that right!
A recent study by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health states that “While relatively few parents would allow their child to be unsupervised in a lake (16 percent) or the ocean (13 percent), more than a third (37 percent) would allow their child to be in a home, hotel or neighborhood pool without adult supervision.”
This study is an eye-opener given that drowning has been described as “the second- leading cause of injury-related death in kids ages one to 15.”
Poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H. advises, “Drownings can, and do, happen in private and hotel pools as well as in lakes and the ocean — even at shallow depths. Swimming lessons and proper supervision are critical to making sure kids are safe around the water.”
So while you may adopt any technique to help your child become a safer swimmer, you still need to follow certain guidelines to prevent kids drowning.
7 mistakes you should avoid to prevent kids from drowning
Always keep your kids’ safety in mind by avoiding the following, common mistakes that increase the risk of drowning.
1. Do not be casual about your child entering the pool
Before your kids takes a plunge into the water, encourage them to develop a pre-swimming routine. You can ask them to take a quick shower, slap on the sunscreen, put on floaters and swimming diapers, if needed.
This ensures that they are aware that swimming is not to be taken lightly and that they cannot go into the pool without your knowledge.
2. Do not let your kid dictate when to enter the pool
Develop a signal or a verbal cue that must be given by you before your child enters the pool. This creates an additional barrier for them and they become aware that they need your permission to enter the pool.
However, don’t just give up after the first attempt. Be consistent with this little ritual. Only then can you ensure that your child follows safety instructions and goes into the pool with your permission.
3. Do not rely on flotation devices to keep your kids safe forever
Yes, a flotation device is designed to prevent kids from drowning. But you also need to teach kids how to swim without them. Many parents make the mistake of keeping their kids in floaters for ages. This creates a false sense of security for the child.
4. Don’t always ask them to use googles in the pool
This type of safety gear is great in the beginning and helps kids keep their eyes open underwater. But like flotation devices, goggles too may create a sense of false security. If a child falls into a body of water, they need to be confident enough to keep their eyes open underwater without goggles so they can swim to safety — the side of the pool, the beach, or the banks of a river or pond.
5. Don’t rely on the pool to be a safe zone for kids
Most pools have drain entrapment areas that can be quite dangerous for kids. As such, you should make sure that the pool’s cleaning, drainage and water entrapment facilities are in compliance with the country’s pool safety laws.
Don’t be shy to ask the resort or building administration about the pool drains and the pump systems. You also want to keep the deck area around the pool clear of any toys or objects, so that your child doesn’t trip over them and/or accidentally fall into the pool.
6. Do not rely on others for your child’s safety
Yes, there may be a lifeguard or others around your kid when he enters the pool. But that doesn’t mean you should look away or stare at your phone.
No child is ever 100 percent water-safe or pool-safe. Drowning is silent and only takes a few seconds. So always keep one eye on your child.
It also helps to learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Every adult must know about it because you can never be too prepared when it comes to kids and pool safety.
7. Don’t transfer your own fears to them
You may have a fear of water, but that shouldn’t stop you from letting your kids enjoy this wonderful activity. Do not panic if your child’s face dunks below the surface of the water.
In fact, for young children, you can get them to practice holding their breath under water by asking them to slide below the surface water of your bathtub. This will build confidence in them about stepping into and swimming in a large body of water.
Most importantly, make sure to never leave them unsupervised to prevent kids drowning. If you are not very confident about your own swimming skills, you can enroll yourself as well your kid in swimming classes and enjoy this fun activity together.