“This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine.”
“While I’m at the pool, I can sit over here and read a book; the lifeguard is watching my child.” “My children are decent swimmers; if they are in trouble, I’ll hear them.” In partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, Nationwide recently released some troubling findings about pool and water safety. Drowning is the #1 cause of injury-related death in kids under four. Do you have a pool in your yard? Do your children swim at a pool or lake? These are some safety recommendations to be aware of.
Many years ago, when I was training for Xterra races and swimming laps at the community pool, there was a little girl who “followed” me around the pool with her water wings. One day, her grandmother approached me and asked if I could teach her how to swim. Although I was honored, I wasn’t exactly sure if I was qualified, but I also knew that I was probably the family’s only resource. I spent that summer teaching her how to swim. I remember the panic of the grandmother when I took her water wings off and let her swim by herself for the first time. The little girl swam her best and Grandma was in hysterics. As the girl’s swimming became stronger, Grandma became less nervous, and more appreciative.
As someone who has always been around the water and pools, I am proud to share this message of swimming safety with you. Drowning is preventable. Many thanks to the Nationwide for their Make Safe Happen campaign!
Misconception #1: I will hear my child if he/she gets in trouble in the water and starts to drown.
- Reality: Drowning is silent. A drowning child may not splash, wave or yell, but nearly half the parents surveyed think that if a child was drowning nearby, they would hear him/her.
Misconception 2: Nothing bad will if I take my full attention off my child for a couple of minutes.
- Reality: Drowning is quick. Once a child begins to struggle, parents may have less than a minute to react. However, one in three parents surveyed has left their child at a pool for two or more minutes without supervision.
Misconception 3: If there is a lifeguard at the pool I don’t need to worry as much about actively supervising my child in and around water.
- Reality: More than half the parents surveyed think that when present, a lifeguard is the main person responsible for their child’s supervision. However, a lifeguard’s job is to enforce pool rules, scan, rescue and resuscitate, not keep an eye on any specific child.
Misconception 4: If my child has had swim lessons I don’t have to worry about him/her drowning.
- Reality: Swim lessons are essential, but research suggests that often parents overestimate their child’s swimming ability. Of parents surveyed, 60 percent said they would not worry as much about drowning if their child had swim lessons, yet a review of children who drowned in a pool revealed that 47 percent of 10 to 17 year-olds reportedly knew how to swim.
Misconception 5: If my child can swim he or she has all the necessary water survival skills.
- Reality: While swim lessons are important, most parents surveyed were not able to identify water survival skills or understand how having those skills differs from being able to swim.
What can I do?
Watch kids when they are in or around water, without distraction. Keep young children within arms’ reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time.
Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready.
Make sure kids know how to swim and have these five water survival skills:
- step or jump into water over their head
- return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute
- turn around in a full circle and find an exit
- swim 25 yards to exit the waters
- exit the water without using the pool ladder
If you own a home with a pool, install a fence around the pool which surrounds all sides of the pool and is at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.
Check out this Water Safety 2016 Infographic
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What about you? How are you staying safe in the pool this summer?
Love, hugs, and jumping in.HERE.