How to Keep Your Kids Safe Around the Water This Summer
Summertime means vacations, resorts and enjoying the sunshine—but it can also mean an increase in the risk of children drowning. In fact, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of children 14 and younger who have drowned in household pools has increased, in part because kids have spent more time at home and more time in the pool.
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is "the leading cause injury death for children 1 to 4 years of age." Overall, drowning kills nearly 4,000 people each year in the U.S. Florida the third highest state for child drownings, with 2.01 drownings per 100,000 people each year.
With summertime looming, we asked Lindsay Leary, a co-owner and office manager for Sarasota's Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, to for tips on ways to keep children and young teens safe during summer vacation.
Aqua-Tots Swim Schools holds swim events and lessons for children ages 4 months to 12 years. The facility offers eight levels of swimming instruction for children and tweens and helps educate parents about the importance of swim safety around bodies of water—specifically, household pools.
"My oldest has just graduated from level six of her swim journey, and knowing that she is considered a safe and confident swimmer makes me emotional and gives me a sense of relief knowing that if she goes to a pool party and she's in a sticky situation, she will know what to do," says Leary. "For me, I felt like this weight was lifted off my shoulders knowing that at least one of my kids—my other two aren't there yet—is safe."
Designate a "water watcher."
"Children are curious and need adult supervision at all times around water. Always designate a responsible water watcher to keep an eye on swimmers."
Put up safety barriers.
"Pools should have a 4-foot-tall fence and a gate that locks. Inside the house, keep bathroom doors closed and toilet lids latched. Be sure to empty buckets, bathtubs and play pools immediately after use."
Scheduled swim lessons.
"Knowing how to find air and swim to the pool's edge can save a child's life. Swim lessons help children adapt to the water, learn safe boundaries and become safe and confident swimmers."
Undergo CPR and first aid training.
"Caregivers of all ages should be CPR-certified and trained in first aid. Also, keep a phone close by in case of an emergency when swimming."
Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is hosting a free event to teach children what to do if they fall in the pool while fully clothed. The event takes place 4-6 p.m. this Friday, May 20, at Aqua-Tots, 3750 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota. Sessions are 30 minutes. For more info, visit the Aqua-Tots website or email the company at [email protected].