Swim safety for children
Playing at the beach, at a water park or in a pool can be a real treat on a hot day. Swimming is a lot of fun, but drowning is a real danger. Even children who know how to swim can drown.
Why is it important to be safe in the water?
Fish are able to live and breathe in water, but people need air to breathe. People drown when too much water gets into their lungs. When that happens, the lungs can't carry enough oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body. Drowning is the second most common cause of death from injuries among children under the age of 14. Drowning can happen so fast - sometimes in less than 2 minutes after a person's head goes under the water. That leaves very little time for someone to help. Many drowning’s and near-drowning’s occur when a child accidentally falls into a swimming pool. But accidents can happen anywhere - even at your own home, and that's why you need to know how to be safe around water.
Pools are awesome! What could be better than a dip in the pool and fun in the sun? But remember a pool's sides and bottom are usually made of concrete, a very hard material. A slip or fall could be painful and dangerous. Have you seen those big numbers painted on the side of the pool? Those are called depth markers - they tell you how deep the water is at that point. You should always look before you jump into a pool. You should also only dive off the diving board. Never dive off the side of the pool unless an adult says that the water is deep enough. The water may be shallower than you think. If you hit the bottom . . . ouch! You might get knocked out or you could hurt your neck very badly. Test the pool's water temperature before you plunge in. Cold water can shock your body and make your blood pressure and heart rate go up. You might accidentally open your mouth to yell and accidentally breathe in some water. Cold water can also slow your muscles, making it hard to swim.
Other rules to observe:
- Always have an adult watch you when you are in the pool, even in your own garden. Never go in the pool if there is not an adult around. Always call an adult or lifeguard if there is an emergency.
- Gates are around pools for a reason - to keep children away from the water when there isn't a lifeguard or adult around to watch them. Never go through any pool gates when they are closed. Stay safe and stay out!
- Always obey pool rules.
- Swim with a buddy.
- If you're learning to swim, ask your parents/carer to make sure your flotation devices are approved.
- Walk slowly in the pool area. NEVER run.
- Swim at a depth that is safe for you. If you're just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end.
- Don't push or jump on others. You could accidentally hurt someone or yourself.
- Toys to help you float come in many shapes and sizes. Although they're fun and can help you swim, what they can't do is save a life.