Water mishaps can and do happen. There have been numerous sobering reminders whenever drowning incidents are reported in the press. Yet, drowning cases involving children continue to occur every year.
In South East Asia, drowning is named one of the top 3 accident-related causes of deaths among children. There are also many harrowing near-drowning escapes.
Today’s parents should pay more attention to water safety as children have easier access to swimming pools. Deaths from drowning are often preventable. Parents should pay attention to these safety pointers.
Avoid letting your child swim in pools or areas without lifesaving aids (e.g. buoys and poles) and lifeguards around. Life saving aids greatly facilitates a rescue, and trained lifeguards have the know-how to execute prompt and correct actions during aquatic emergency.
However, never let your guard down just because there is a life guard around. Always keep an eye on your child. Remain vigilant even if your child is not in the water but is by the poolside.
Parents should also be caution not to leave toys floating in the water. Your child may be tempted to fish them out, and hence falls in. Do also fence off a private pool or inflatable ones that are filled with water when they are not in use.
Parents of young children often let your child use floatation devices such as water wings, swimming rings or life vests. Take note, these DO NOT guarantee your child’s safety!
These flotation devices could suddenly shift position, slip out or lose air. Hence, do not let them create a false sense of security. It’s best to regards them as aids to familiarise your child with water. Your constant supervision is still required!
One of the best defences against drowning is to teach children to swim. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children after age of 5 learn to swim.
However, please note that swimming ability does not “drown-proof” a child. Children may not be able to use their swimming skills in an emergency. Also, learning various swimming strokes isn’t the same as learning to respond to situations encountered in water. Water survival includes skills like sculling, treading water, water survival positions and use of buoyant aids.
When signing your child up for swimming classes, it is certainly useful to pick a programme that includes water survival skills.
Sometimes the situation (e.g. the child sustains head injury while in the water) or even panic, may hamper them from using the skills they have learnt. This is when knowing some lifesaving techniques yourself comes in.
Parents are advised to pick up lifesaving skills so that they will be ready to respond effectively to a water crisis.
Teach your children to be water-savvy. Insist that they adhere to the following water safety rules whenever he is or around any water:
Water in nature
Encourage your children to develop the habit of taking a minute to consider possible dangers before going into or near water.
Your efforts will be well worth the while. Complacent has no place when water safety is concerned. Don’t gamble your children’s life and take all the precautions you can.