How to Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer

By on June 13, 2014

With the summer months fast approaching and the heat reaching scorching temperatures, it’s no wonder parents and children alike flock to the water. Summertime has become synonymous with making lasting family memories spending lazy days at the beach and pool. But to ensure that thosememories remain happy ones there are some water safety precautions that every parent should take.

6964085_sThe dangers of drowning are very real, especially in South Florida, where we are surrounded by water everywhere. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children but the good news is there are steps parents can take to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Children of all ages and swimming skill levels should always be supervised by a vigilant adult. There is no floatation device that is an acceptable substitute for a pair of watchful eyes. Young children can drown in only a few centimeters of water and a matter of seconds can make all the difference.

That being said, parents and care-takers of children should all learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Accidents are unavoidable and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for them. Learning the proper way to react in case of an emergency can be the difference between tears of relief of grief.

Swimming lessons can and do save lives and are another way to help prevent drowning accidents from occurring. Many parents wait until their children are older to teach them how to swim, but even infants can learn life-saving survival skills in the water. There is some debate about how early you should start your child in swimming lessons but Meric Tendrich and Gerald Little, Miami-Dade County firefighters and owners of Little Swimmers, believe the younger the children are the easier it is to teach them.

Tendrich says “It’s such a tragedy when we have to respond to a drowning or neardrowning, especially knowing first-hand how preventable it is. Parents, too often, fail to realize how important swimming lessons are until it’s too late.” Aside from constant supervision, and swim lessons there are other precautions that the American Red Cross advocates including:

  • Swimming only in lifeguard supervised areas
  • Ensuring everyone in the family learns how to swim
  • Self-latching gate surrounding pool to keep children out
  • Having appropriate safety gear like a first aid kit, life hooks, life rings, and an emergency phone nearby
  • Secure long hair close to the head (or cover with a swim cap). This is to prevent hair from getting suctioned into any drain devices.

Merich Tendrich & Gerald Little, owners/ instructors of Little Swimmers are both Dade County firefighters trained in CPR and survival techniques. They have been teaching children to swim for 28 years in So Fla. They can be reached at 305-383-SWIM or www.littleswimmers.net.

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