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Water Safety: Pediatric Edition

Water Safety: Pediatric Edition

We know, we know…we’re a little late –

But…With summer just recently officially starting, we thought this would be an appropriate topic to cover. After all, we’re in Kentucky. Most of us are water-crazed from the months of May-August ????

So shall we take a ????dive ???? (if you will) into the best ways to ensure your children’s safety while swimming?

But first…a quick question:

Why can male dogs swim in the ocean?


Because they are good buoys ????

First, let’s knock out the common misconceptions:

  1. I’ll hear my kid drowning: Many parents believe if their child was in distress or drowning that they would hear it. This is simply not true. Drowning can be silent. Especially in smaller children, there can be very little splashing, waiving, or screaming.
  2. My child has taken swimming lessons – they can’t drown It’s a common misconception that children that have taken swim lessons are much less likely to drown. While they are less likely to drown statistically, skill level varies wildly, and your young child shouldn’t be left unsupervised in a pool at a young age, even if they have taken swim lessons. In fact, 47% of children (10-17) involved in drowning-related injuries reportedly had taken swim lessons.
  3. The lifeguard will save my kid. That’s their job. Yes, lifeguards are there to enforce rules, scan, rescue, and resuscitate, but at the end of the day, they aren’t your child’s babysitter. It’s your responsibility to monitor your child in the water and ensure they are safe. After all, lifeguards are sometimes responsible for 50+ children. You’re much more likely to notice your child struggling or in distress before they are.

That brings the question. Is water dangerous for my children?

All things can be dangerous. Swimming is great for children, and in fact, we recommend starting swim lessons when they are still young. Swimming is an essential skill, and may save their life one day. You can ensure your child is safe in the pool by following some simple safety procedures which we’ll cover more on below.

How can I keep my kiddo(s) safe in the water?

Simple supervision is the single best way to prevent a drowning incident. Unplanned, unsupervised access to water is the biggest drowning threat, particularly for toddlers, with whom it accounts for 69% of all drownings. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends providing constant “touch supervision” (i.e., within arm’s reach), which means staying in the water with your child and providing undivided attention – no phones, alcohol, or other distractions – even if they are solid swimmers. During parties near pools or lakes, designate a water monitor and take turns sharing the responsibility.

Learn about designating a water monitor for your kids:

Click here

Speaking of swimming, the ageless adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more applicable to children and water. Swimming lessons are the second most important tool in your water safety arsenal.

What to do in an emergency?

We hope it never happens, but if it does, it’s important to be prepared. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you can’t rescue the drowning person without putting yourself in danger. If you are trained and able to rescue the child, do so, but always call for medical help as soon as possible. If you are able to rescue the child, check if they are breathing. Place your ear next to the person’s mouth and nose. Do you feel air on your cheek? Is their chest moving?

If they are not breathing, check their pulse. These are questions 911 will likely ask you on the phone, so it’s important to be prepared. No pulse? It’s time to begin CPR.

For a child, CPR starts with rescue breathing:

  • Carefully place the child on their back.
  • Tilt head back and lift the chin. For a baby, be careful not to tilt the head back too far.
  • With an older child, pinch the nose closed and put your mouth over the child’s mouth, forming a tight seal. With an infant, place your mouth over both the baby’s nose and mouth.
  • Blow into the child’s mouth for 1 second. You should see their chest rise.
  • Repeat the breath a second time.

Then begin chest compressions:

  • For a child, place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest at the nipple line. For an infant, place two fingers on the breastbone.
  • Press down at least 2 inches for a child, about 1 and 1/2 inches for an infant. Make sure not to press on the ribs or the end of the breastbone.
  • Do 30 chest compressions, at the rate of 100 per minute. Let the chest rise completely between pushes.
  • Check to see if the child has started breathing.

If you’re alone, take a break to call 911 after 2 minutes of CPR.

All in all, swimming is a very safe activity when proper safety measure are in place. Make sure to monitor your child at all times this summer. It takes less time than you may think for things to go wrong. Stay safe everyone! ☀️

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