Children love the water. The water is cool, fun, and refreshing on a hot summer day. Children think that they are indestructible. This perception can have a fatal outcome. They need to be taught the two most important rules of swimming.
First, never swim alone. Every swimmer must have a buddy. That buddy should be the same age or older. Buddies should swim close to each other. Buddies should always be able to see their buddies. Always get in and out of the water with your buddy. Always know the location of your buddy.
Second, an adult or lifeguard should be watching you and your buddy when in the water. That adult can be in the water but must have their eyes glued on the swimmers. Children can tell when something is an emergency. They don’t always know how to handle that emergency.
Swimming fatalities increase when children have unsupervised access to the water. Knowing how to swim or wearing a floaties does not guarantee that a child is safe from drowning. Children at the highest risk for drowning are toddlers. Toddlers can’t be taught or expected to remember a rule (e.g., don’t go near the pool). Most drownings occur when fearlessness meets opportunity. Pool owners should always have their pools gated with a self-closing and self-locking entrance.
Swimming is fun. Have your child repeat the two rules every time they are near water. Let’s make summer both fun and safe.