How Can I Keep My Child Safe Around Water?

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Because drowning is the leading cause of death from injury for toddlers in Florida, Stacey McConkey, MD, pediatrician, offers the following tips to prevent water tragedies:
  • Always supervise children in and around water.
  • Install four-sided, five-foot- high fencing with a self-closing, self-latching gate around pools and spas to prevent direct access from the house.
  • Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) when on a boat.
  • Never leave a young child alone or with a sibling in the bathtub, not even to answer the phone or to get a towel. If you must leave, take the child with you.
  • Although they cant drown-proof a child, swimming lessons are a must.
  • Never swim in unguarded areas, such as canals or ponds.
  • Learn CPR and know how to reach your Emergency Medical Service; keep a phone outside near pools and have emergency numbers posted.

Children should follow 4 rules for swimming:

  1. Swim with a buddy, never alone.
  2. Don't dive or jump into bodies of water; always wade in first.
  3. Don't push or jump on top of others.
  4. Be prepared for an emergency.

Swimming pools are where most submersion injuries occur, but small children can drown in less than an inch of water in a matter of seconds making even kiddy pools, bathtubs, buckets and toilets potential hazards, says Dr. McConkey. By simply taking a few simple safety precautions, parents can significantly reduce their child's chance of drowning.

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