I saw “Jaws 3” in 3D on New Year’s Eve, in the middle of a snowstorm, in New York and I still had nightmares about those animatronic teeth for weeks. This summer, I will be spending lots of time with my 7-year-old son in the pool. We may not have to worry about sharks, but you can believe I’ve done my homework on swimming and water safety.
Even at its safest, water must be respected: Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children. Follow these super-helpful tips to keep your family’s water-related activities enjoyable and ER-free.
- NEVER let kids swim alone. This is the No. 1 rule for water safety and is a good rule to follow no matter your age or swimming ability.
- Teach kids to swim. All family members should know how to swim, float, tread water and get in and out of a pool or boat safely.
- Play eye spy. Keep your kids in sight at all times; it only takes a moment for a child to slip under the water.
- Learn CPR. Look for free infant CPR classes at an HCA hospital near you, or check with your local YMCA or Red Cross. Hands-Only CPR may also be used on teens and adults.
- Give kids a vest, not wings. The CDC recommends correctly sized life jackets (PFDs, or personal flotation devices) for non-swimmers, tired swimmers, and all kids when in and around open water, natural bodies of water and boats. Inflatables and foam toys, such as water wings and noodles, aren’t designed to keep swimmers safe.
- Clear things up. It’s best to swim and play in clear water so you can see what’s in the water. But that’s not always possible, so be sure to inspect the area your kids will be playing in first. Murky water may be hiding uneven surfaces, sudden drop offs, logs, sharp rocks, broken glass, strong currents or … sharks.
- Protect your tootsies. Big and little feet will find protection and increased balance and stability when outfitted with a good pair of aqua shoes.
- Stay sun safe. Make sure kids drink lots of water (but not the water they’re swimming in, as it most likely contains a host of icky chemicals and germs), apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats, take rest breaks and stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Carb up. According to USA Swimming, which is responsible for selecting and training our Olympic athletes, if you’re planning to swim for 45 minutes or longer, it’s smart to eat a snack comprised of easily digested carbs 15 minutes before you hit the water. Try one of our “fintastic” snack recipes from our Kids Teaching Kids website.
Despite the lingering effects of my shark-in-a-snowstorm experience, I’m confident we’ll have a super-safe, shark-free summer in the water. But if the unexpected happens, it’s a relief to know one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.
Find a fast Medical City ER near you.
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