1. Supervise your children when they’re in the water
Approximately 75 percent of child drownings occur because of a lapse in adult supervision of less than five minutes, Lincoln County And Sally’s YMCA Senior Director of Member Experience Alisha Dameron said. Drowning can happen in an instant – in the time it takes to answer a phone call, read a page or two or strike up a conversation with a friend. Dameran said most drownings occur within 10-30 feet of safety.
2. Never jump in to save someone drowning
If you do see someone drowning, throw out a flotation device or use a pole to reach a drowning child or adult, Dameron said. If a child finds his or her friend in deep water unexpectedly, the natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, Dameron said, a panicked person will overpower them and pull them underwater with them.
3. Always have a swimming buddy, get the right gear
Dameron advises to always designate swimming buddies whether a person is in an open body of water or a pool. And if out on the lake, make sure children wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should always wear a personal floatation device when in an open body of water.
4. Don’t engage in breath-holding activities
Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side effects, Dameron warns.
5. Enroll children in water safety or swim lessons
It’s never too late to take swimming lessons to overcome fears, build confidence in the water and develop skills. Dameron said swimming lessons are an important safety and life skill, and the ability to swim is a critical life skill for every child, teen and adult.