For the safety of summer swimming, appoint a “ water observer ”
Pandemic restrictions are easing as the summer months arrive. While heat relief often comes from time spent at the pool, says Michelle Parker, Safe children Inland Empire Coordinator at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, parents should remain vigilant about water safety.
Drowning is the leading killer of children aged 1 to 4, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Putting on layers of protection around the pool can prevent these tragedies.
Parker says one of those important layers is designating a water watcher when kids are in or around water. The water watcher should continuously scan the pool without distraction, keeping a particular eye out for young children and inexperienced swimmers, and even children who can swim well.
“Now more than ever, it’s easy to get distracted by catching up on poolside conversations, cell phone conversations, food preparation and other activities that distract us from the kids in and around. water, ”she said. “Consider assigning a water watcher each time you are around a swimming pool.”
Who is a suitable water watcher?
- A responsible and intact adult
- Can swim
- May change behavior nothing more than watching children in and around the water
- Has a phone to call 9-1-1 in an emergency
- Can recognize the signs on a child in distress
Each suitable adult should be the water watcher for 30 minutes, then compromise with the next adult who will be in charge, Parker says.
“The key is to have someone designated to do nothing but watch,” she says. “It’s easy to think that someone else is watching, but unless a plan is in place for adequate supervision, often no one is actually watching. Drownings happen quickly and silently. “
As an additional reminder and level of responsibility, Parker recommends that water waters have specific labels, such as a lanyard, wrist reel or water observer card which can be passed on to the next adult at the end of a shift.
“Keep your pool time fun and safe this summer,” Parker says. “Be sure to use water watchers whenever there is a gathering in a house with a swimming pool.”
Visit Safe Kids website for other helpful tips on pool safety.