IOWA HEALTH SYSTEM
Splashing and Swimming to Beat the Heat
Safe Kids Iowa Offers Water Safety Tips for this Summer
DES MOINES, IA - Summer has begun and kids have started filling the pools and nearby lakes to escape the heat. However, Safe Kids Iowa wants to remind parents of the importance of water safety before letting your child jump in.
"Water can be very dangerous if safety measures are not followed. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for people ages 14 and under. Last year, more than 800 kids died of drowning or other water related injuries. Many of those deaths can be prevented with the proper precautions by both the parent and the child," said Lisa Roth, co-coordinator of Safe Kids Iowa.
The most important safety tip is to supervise of your child at all times while they are in or around water. A child younger than two years of age can drown in only two inches of water in a short amount of time so it is very important that they never leave your sight. Avoid any distraction while looking after your child. Talking, eating, reading, or taking care of another child diverts attention from the water.
Children should begin to take swimming lessons from a qualified instructor around the age of four. Invest in a proper-fitting, Coast-Guard approved life vest that matches the child's weight and size recommendation located on the vest. Water wings and other inflatable devices are not an affective protection against drowning.
"Make sure your child knows the standard rules to be followed when around bodies of water, such as a pool or lake. He or she should always swim with a buddy and never swim alone. Kids should not push or run when around the water as it is easy to slip and injure themselves. Also they need to know how deep the water is before jumping in. Head injuries are a serious problem in pools and lakes where children thought it was safe to dive in," said Roth.
If the weather becomes harsh or dangerous, everyone should leave the water area immediately and seek shelter. Also teach your children important numbers for them to call in the case of an emergency.
Water safety is very important this time of year and vital to your child's well-being. Following these few simple instructions can help keep your child's summer fun and safe.
(Contact: Jennifer Perry, Media Relations, 515-241-5283/515-205-6090 cell)