While drowning presents one of the gravest dangers during summer, here are tips to protect your children:
- Parents should stay within arm's length of non-swimmers whenever they're near water, and keep eagle eyes on young swimmers, even when there's a lifeguard on duty.
- Children should always wear personal flotation devices while on boats. And personal flotation devices are also a good idea for non-swimmers at the beach or pool, but they are not a substitute for constant parental supervision near water.
- If you own a pool, make sure it is surrounded by a safety fence that children cannot unlock without an adult's help.
- Don't leave toys in the pool where children might reach for them and fall in.
Parents often start them in swimming lessons at an early age in hopes of keeping them safe around water but the American Academy of Pediatrics warns against this practice for children younger than 4 years.
Children this young rarely have the developmental skills necessary to understand the dangers of water. Most also lack the physical coordination to learn in-water and poolside safety skills. Swimming lessons for children this age may reduce fear of the water, encouraging them to enter the water alone, and give their parents a false sense of security about their child's safety in water.