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Avoid Drowning: Keep Kids Safe Around Water
"Because children can drown in as little as an inch of water, an adult should actively watch them while they’re in or near water," says Kelly Coleman, MD, a board-certified specialist in Pediatrics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "Adults should stay within arm's reach when a child is under 5 years of age."
Dr. Coleman says children are usually developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons by age 5, but teaching them to swim does not guarantee their safety.
She offers these additional tips:
- Don't use air-filled swimming aids, such as water wings, as a substitute for approved life vests.
- Don't allow children to dive into water without an adult checking the depth and for underwater objects. Don't allow them to dive into aboveground pools.
- Install a climb-resistant fence that completely surrounds your pool or home spa.
- Empty blow-up pools after each use.
If a child is found floating or submerged, start rescue breaths immediately, then remove the child from the water, holding their neck in a neutral position in case there's spinal injury. Call 911 for assistance," she advises.
"Children are naturally attracted to water, and we need to be ever-vigilant to ensure a fun and safe summer," concludes Dr. Coleman.