Water proof your life this summer

Published 9:16 am Friday, June 21, 2013

Each year around this time I present this topic because, as warmer weather arrives, more people participate in aquatic activities like swimming, skiing, fishing and boating.

Even if they don’t actually plan to get in many folks are close to or at least around bodies of water like pools, lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks and even the ocean. As a WSI (water safety instructor) for the American Red Cross, I have been a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps, certified lifeguards, taught swimming and run large aquatic facilities.

Statistically, in the United States, 50 percent of all those who drown each year never intended to get in the water in the first place. Also, nearly 1,000 children drown each year. It’s absolutely crucial to learn how to keep you and your family safe in and around water. This is called “water proofing.”

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Children need constant supervision. Some kids have no fear of water, but also have no breath control. Did you know young children can drown in just 2 inches of water? This means that extreme care should be taken not just in swimming pools, but also in bathtubs, sinks, wading pools, fountains, toilets, buckets, even ditches filled with rainwater. Make no mistake – drowning can occur very quickly, so never let children out of your sight for even a few seconds. I once had to jump off a second story balcony to rescue a 5-year-old whose mother took her eyes off him for just a few seconds.

Make sure you teach your kids to swim early on. Even children under one year old should learn. Make sure your kids are taught by qualified instructors. All kids should be constantly supervised, no matter what their skill level. Infants and small children should have an adult within arm’s reach. This is called “touch supervision.”