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Be Your Own Lifeguard

Swimming is a popular activity during the summer months. With the warm weather, children and adults are doing anything to cool off. Knowing the basics of water safety is extremely important no matter your age. Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1-4? Drownings can happen in small bodies of water just as quickly as they can happen in big bodies of water. One of the biggest leading causes of child drownings is a parent/ instructor not being present.

Instructors teaching children how to swim should be CPR certified and have basic water rescue skills. They should know what to do in case of an emergency and always have eyes on the child while being within arms-reach. When teaching a child how to swim, a parent should be present to learn about their child’s comfort level in the water and tendencies while swimming.

Make it a priority to teach your child how to swim or find a trusted instructor. The younger they are, the easier it is for them to get used to water. Take note of your child’s comfort level with their instructor. Do they know this adult? Do they trust this adult? Swimming is a survival skill that should be taught when the child feels comfortable and ready.

The basic skills taught to children are to return to the surface of the water, turn on their back, and float/tread water. The child should always stay calm and practice breathing techniques while moving forward. Once the child has reached the edge, shore, pier, etc. they should exit if possible.

Always pay close attention to your child when around bodies of water including a lake, ocean, pool, etc. Never leave a child unattended near or in the water even if the child has a floatation device. If your child is around a home pool, consider putting up a fence or gate to create a safety barrier. 

Children are resilient and can be very quick learners and adaptors. Make sure to always be aware of surroundings and have the child within arm’s reach when teaching them how to swim. Always check the water and call 9-1-1 if your child goes missing.

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