Hey mamas—are you ready for summer 2022? Chances are, this summer is going to be filled with family trips to the local pool, beach vacations, and lots of downtime. And with that, water safety is a must for families to know about and practice. May is National Water Safety Awareness Month, and this is a good time to review some basics. Sadly, communities across the country are impacted by drowning or near-drowning incidents every year, and New Jersey is no different. Water-related accidents can happen fast, and parents need to be aware of ways to keep kids safer in and around water. So, what do parents need to know when it comes to water safety?
First, the facts
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages one to four—and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14. In addition to the drownings reported, many children also suffer other water-related injuries each summer.
So, what does drowning look like? When are kids most at risk?
- Drowning happens quickly. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and in as little time as 20 seconds.
- Often, drowning occurs during non-swimming times. For this reason, ensure that there are effective barriers to keeping children away from bodies of water.
- Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. We rarely see the waving, splashing, and yelling on television in real life. You will not see screaming kids flailing their arms! Constant supervision is important, so you notice a child whose face has gone underwater or is struggling. If a child is taking on water, he WILL NOT be able to shout out for help.
- Look for these other signs of drowning:
- Head low in the water, mouth at water level
- Head tilted back with mouth open
- Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
- Eyes closed
- Not using legs and vertical in the water
- Hyperventilating or gasping
- Trying to roll over on the back
What you can do to keep your family safe around the water
- Enroll in Swim Lessons & Practice Basic Moves Before Returning to the Pool: One of the best ways to protect your children against drowning is to improve their comfort level in the water and strengthen swimming capabilities through swim lessons, which have been proven to reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88%. Lessons help increase muscle memory by practicing basic techniques for kids to use during a water emergency – such as the crab walk, properly getting in and out of the pool, going under water, rolling on their back, treading water, learning different strokes, etc.
- Swap Out Floaties & Puddle Jumpers for U.S. Coastguard-Approved Lifejackets: Don’t rely on floaties and puddle jumpers to keep your kids afloat. They give children a false sense of security in the water, which can easily come loose or deflate, and they teach children to float in a vertical position which is the opposite of how our bodies float. Search for the Coast Guard approval on floatation devices because it means the lifejacket has met all the regulations that the Coast Guard has set in place related to performance, construction, and materials. Pay attention to proper fit too. The fit matters because if your head or ears can slip down beneath the life jacket, the device won’t be able to work as designed to keep your head above water and allow for proper breathing.
- Seek Out Bright Colored Swimwear & Properly Fitted Goggles: When shopping for swimwear, avoid colors that could blend in with the water and choose swimsuits with bright colors instead. They will stand out in the water and make it easier to spot a swimmer in need of help. When shopping for goggles, there are a couple of factors to look for—they should fit around the eye comfortably (the top of the goggle cup should fit under the eyebrow and comfortably seal on the bottom under the eye socket), the nose piece is not too tight or too wide, and the straps easily adjust.
- Choose a Water Guardian: Make sure to always keep your eyes on your kids – even if lifeguards are present. Kids are as curious as they come and are always willing to push the limits without knowing the true hazards. Appoint an adult “Water Guardian,” and be sure to change guardians every 30 minutes, so he/she is alert and refreshed. A Water Guardian’s sole responsibility needs to be keeping an eye on the swimmers. Vigilance is key – no chatting, no checking your phone, no distractions.
Goldfish Swim School has a Water Safety Program available to local schools, daycare centers, summer camps, and community groups to educate kids and families about water safety basics. Their team would love to bring this FREE, engaging program to interested community organizations to teach kids the basics of water safety. Any interested organizations can reach out to schedule a water safety presentation.
Enter to Win Swim Lessons and Prepare for a Safer Summer with your Family!
In honor of National Water Safety Awareness Month, Goldfish Swim School is giving away FREE swim lessons! Enter to win two months of swim lessons at the New Jersey Goldfish Swim School location of your choice (choose from Closter, Denville, Manalapan, Middletown, Livingston. Springfield, or Wyckoff). The deadline for entry is 5/30/22. We can’t wait to see you in the pool!
ENTRY FORM: https://www.goldfishswimschool.com/njmomjsc
Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student-teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and state-of-the-art water purification system. Goldfish Swim School has locations in Closter, Denville, Livingston, Manalapan, Middletown, Springfield and Wyckoff. Visit the website for more information: goldfishswimschool.com.
This post is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School, pledging to make all #NJMOMs and their families safer, informed swimmers.