If you are like most people who enjoy the great outdoors, summer means packing bathing suits, sunscreen, and other gear for some quality family time at the beach.
Unfortunately, summer time also poses a dangerous risk especially for young kids. Statistics show that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of 14.
The sad reality is that drowning can happen so quickly (sometimes in less than a couple of minutes) that even a good swimmer won’t be able to dive in and rescue someone in time.
So, the next time you take your family for a dip in the sea, make sure to practice out the following precautionary measures to ensure the safety of your kids.
Maintain Constant Supervision
Kids need constant supervision around water whether they are making sand castles near the water, splashing around at the edge of the sea, or playing inside the water. This is because it only takes less than 2 inches of water for a young child to drown.
Therefore, drowning can happen at any given time even when you least expect it. This is why you should keep your attention constantly focused on your kid and stay close enough to be able to pluck him/her from the water when she/he goes under.
Make Use of Life Jackets
Swimming in the sea is very much different from swimming in a pool. Aside from the water being much deeper, there is the risk of the sea floor dropping off unexpectedly or violent waves sweeping in from nowhere when high tide kicks in.
Therefore, even if your child is a good swimmer, he/she is still at risk of drowning. So, protect your child from the unexpected variables by investing in a quality, proper fitting life jacket. A life jacket can help keep your child afloat long enough for you or a lifeguard to pull him/her out of rough waters.
Only Swim at Beaches that Have Lifeguards
A lifeguard could very well be the saving grace that prevents your child from drowning when he/she encounters rough waters or gets knocked over by a wave. In addition to being expert swimmers, lifeguards know a lot about the sea and can see things (e.g. a riptide that has the potential of becoming dangerous) that the average beachgoers cannot.
Therefore, always ensure there is a lifeguard around before heading into the water with kids. For additional safety, you and your kids can stay near a lifeguard’s station when swimming.
Avoid Danger Spots
Sticking to calm waters can help minimize the risk of drowning. So, make sure to check out the nature of water before going in. Most public beaches have different colored flags or signs that give people an idea of the nature of water.
For instance, a red flag can mean the presence of strong currents while a purple flag can indicate the presence of potentially dangerous marine life in the water. Make it a point of learning what different signs mean and keep an eye out for such signs.
In the absence of signs, lifeguards are a good source of information. A lifeguard can point out the most dangerous as well as the safest spots in the water.
While prevention is the best way of avoiding misfortune, it also pays to be prepared. So, in addition to practicing the above-mentioned precautionary measures, prepare for the worst by learning CPR and perfecting your ability of swimming against rough currents. This will put you in a better position of rescuing your kid when he/she goes under.