AHS Weekly Wellness News ~ Water Safety: Keeping Your Kids Afloat

It all begins with water safety

app-may-2012-kids-31Now is the time to wade into the topic of water safety with your kids.

The first step is teaching your kids how to swim. Canadian Red Cross water safety program representative Marta Gorski says “as soon as infants can hold their heads up, parents can begin taking swimming lessons with their children. As children move towards five and six years of age, swimming lessons begin to focus on safety, and eventually skills like treading water and swim strokes.”

The Canadian Red Cross (redcross.ca) offers swimming and water safety programs for all ages and confidence. “Anyone can learn to swim at any age,” Gorski says.

Water safety goes beyond knowing how to swim. You and your kids also need to learn when to wear a life jacket and the serious risks that come along with being around water. “Water in nature is very powerful. Parents need to recognize the strength of a current . . . Reading the posted signs and doing some research before you head out with your family is essential,” Gorski says.

She adds: “It only takes a second for a child to drown. It is very important that parents never look away or leave their child unsupervised no matter how deep the water. One inch of water is enough to cover a child’s mouth and nose.”

Most drowning deaths in Alberta are preventable. You can reduce the risks by remembering there is no substitute for adult supervision. Constant supervision is vital for a safe family outing. Life jackets and pool toys can assist children, but they can never replace your watchful eyes.

Gorski urges parents to ensure they have a locked, self-latching gate around any backyard pool. She also recommends all inflatable or temporary pools be emptied, deflated and turned upside down when an adult is not around to supervise.

This week’s Wellness Tip is reprinted from Apple Magazine with permission.