Before children head out to swim, parents should practice water safety at home with them. Teach children to always ask permission before going near water and set certain rules for each of your children based on age and swimming experience. Explain to children the importance of swimming near a life guard (when applicable) and always in designated areas. To ensure your family knows how to swim well, consider enrolling everyone in swim classes.

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When watching children or inexperienced swimmers in or around water, have them wear an approved life jacket. If your child is wearing a life jacket, do not solely rely on the life jacket to protect your child; supervision is always required. When in the water with children, stay within arm’s reach and avoid any distractions. Parents should always keep children’s pool toys that are not in use far away from the pool and out of children’s sight.

In the event of an emergency it is important to know how to handle these types of situations quickly and effectively. Timing is crucial during a drowning incident. Seconds can make a difference in regard to a person suffering disabling injuries or death. If a child is missing, check the water first. If you are at a place where a life guard is on duty notify them immediately. If at home, make sure there is appropriate safety equipment nearby such as a life saver. Also having cell phones close by is important in the event you have to call 911 for help.

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Parents should keep in mind that any source of water can be hazardous for children. This includes: bath tubs, ponds, swimming pools and any sizable container of water. Adult supervision is one of the most important things a parent can do to ensure their child’s safety. Parents may consider enrolling in CPR/AED courses to learn the correct procedures to follow during an emergency.

Source: American Red Cross Water Safety

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