Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Water Safety for Your School-age Child

Advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Swimming and playing in water can give your child much pleasure and good exercise. But you must take steps to prevent your child from drowning.

  • Never let your child swim in any body of water without an adult watching.
  • Be sure the adult watching your child knows how to swim, get emergency help, and perform CPR.
  • Keep a life preserver and shepherd's hook in the pool area to help pull a child to the edge of the pool when necessary.
  • Teach your child safety rules and make sure they are obeyed.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Never dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.
  • Always use a life jacket when on a boat, fishing, or playing in a river or stream.
  • Caution your child about the risks of drowning during the winter by falling through thin ice.
  • Don't let young children and children who cannot swim use inflatable toys or mattresses in water that is above the waist.
  • Watch children closely when they are playing near standing water, wells, open post holes, or irrigation or drainage ditches.
  • Teach your child to swim once he or she is ready (usually around 5 years old).

The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on the individual facts and circumstances.