House Calls: Keep your eyes on children in or near water

Submitted

Editor's note: House Calls runs every other Thursday. Today's column is written by Aleen Huston, respiratory care practitioner and certified respiratory therapist.

Whether in the pool, the beach, the river, or even in your bathroom, water can be dangerous to your kids if you don't take the right precautions.

Drowning can happen any time of year, but parents need to be particularly vigilant during summer months, when the number of drownings increases.

Recently a local man drowned after attempting to save his son from the strong currents of the Smith River. When it hits close to home, it makes it very important to keep water safety in mind at all times.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for young children.

According to the CDC, each year, more than 830 children ages of 14 and

under drown in pools, spas, rivers, beaches, and inside the home in the

bathtub or a bucket of water.

According to a national survey, 90 percent of parents say they

supervise their children while swimming, but many acknowledge that they

engage in other distracting activities at the same time - talking,

eating, reading or taking care of another child.

"A child in or near water can get into trouble in a matter of

seconds," said Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA. The organization

promotes "Lock, Look, and Learn," to help remind parents and caregivers

to keep children safe. These protections include using barriers,

fences, actively supervising children, learning how to swim and

enrolling them in swimming lessons, and knowing basic CPR skills.

Here are some tips, provided by Safe Kids, on how to keep kids safe

around the water:

andbull; Always actively supervise children in and around water. Designate

someone to be the "water watcher," a responsible adult who is not

distracted by phone calls, text messages, reading or talking to others.

andbull; Watch children even if they know how to swim - that knowledge does

not prevent drowning.

andbull; If a child is missing, check the water first.

andbull; Know how to swim and enroll your kids in swimming lessons.

andbull; Learn CPR and know how to use rescue equipment - these are

important skills to know if there is an emergency.

andbull; Learn how to choose the right life jacket depending on the water

activity, your child's size, and weight. Don't rely on inflatable

swimming toys such as "water wings" and noodles; these toys should never

be used in place of U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Children

who can't swim well should be within your arm's reach.

andbull; Teach children water safety rules such as never swim alone, always

wear a life jacket while boating, and never swim or play near pool or

spa drains.

andbull; If you have a pool or spa, or if your child visits a home that has a

pool or spa, it should be surrounded on all four sides by a fence at

least 4-feet high with self-closing and self-latching gates.

andbull; Make sure all pools and spas have compliant anti-entrapment drain

covers and back-up devices to ensure safer places for children to swim.

andbull; When not in use, all pools, including portable inflatable pools and

spas, should be covered and secured. Ladders to above ground pools and

spas should be locked or removed.

For more tips and information, please visit safekids.org.

Email suggestions for future House Calls columns to Beth Liles at

Sutter Coast Hospital, lilesbe@sutterhealth.org

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