Summer Water Safety

ADC Steiner Ranch pediatrician discusses summer water safety

School is officially out for the summer, which means a lot of kids will be spending a lot of time at the pool to cool off this summer.  But being near the water can pose a big risk.  ADC Steiner Ranch pediatrician Christopher Saenz, MD, joins KXANs Gigi Barnett with tips on how to keep your kids safe.

As a parent, what advice do you give?

  • Teach your children to have an respect for water, whether you are at the pool or the beach – it’s easy to forget when you’re having fun, but safety should always be top of mind.
  • Very important for parents to always be close and keep a vigilant watch over your children.

Prevention is the most important thing

  • Gates/fences and covers are important for pools
  • Awareness of your child near the water
  • CPR classes to be prepared in case of an emergency

Swim lessons when should your child begin?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends beginning swim lessons at 3 years old.   Although Dr. Saenz says in the 80’s his 18-month old brother took lessons, but warns that parents should not rely on infant swim lessons as a safety net.

What else you consider around water?

  • Sun safety – make sure your child is protected with a good quality sunscreen and that if you are outside all day that it is reapplied after swimming and every few hours.
  • If you go out to area lakes, make sure to be aware of your surroundings: boats, personal watercraft, items floating in the water, etc.
  • Basically always have your “parent hat” on.

Additional tips:

  1. Never leave children alone in or near water, even for a moment; close supervision by a responsible adult is the best way to prevent drowning in children
  2. Less experienced swimmers and children under age 5 in or around water should have an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
  3. Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies!
  4. Designate a “water watcher” when you are in, on or around water.
  5. Because drowning can be quick and quiet, the water watcher should pay constant attention, be un-distracted, not involved in any other activity such as reading, playing cards, on the phone, while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.