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How-To-Keep-Your-Little-One-Safe-Near-Water

How To Keep Your Little One Safe Near Water

There’s a lot of fun to be had around water, but every year we hear of tragedies that remind us of the risks, such as the teenage boys who tragically drowned while swimming in a quarry, or Olympian Bode Miller’s 19-month-old daughter's death in a neighbour’s swimming pool during a party.
 
Worryingly, 37 Children (aged 14 and under) have died in Ireland as a result of drowning over the past ten years, and only this week a friend's mother lost her life in a swimming pool; showing the importance of water safety awareness for adults, and for children.

Read Next: Swimming With Your Baby

Water-related tragedies can occur quickly and silently, however they can be prevented. To mark National Water Safety Awareness Week (18th – 24th June), Water Babies, Ireland’s leading baby and toddler swim school, wants to increase awareness of the importance of learning to swim at an early age and advise parents about water safety for little ones.

Water Babies works closely with Irish Water Safety to promote water safety awareness, and has created a helpful guide for parents, which is available from Water Babies website. They are also hosting a series of free talks around the country during National Water Safety Awareness Week, which will include water safety guidelines for babies and young children, while Order of Malta Ireland Ambulance Corps will provide first aid tips for parents.  

Talks will take place in:

  • Junction 6 Leisure Complex, Castleknock (18 June @ 8pm)
  • Hilton Hotel Dublin Airport, Malahide Road (19 June @ 8pm)
  • Clayton Hotel, Leopardstown (20 June @ 8pm)
  • Radisson Blu Little Island, Cork (2 July @ 8pm)  
  • Clayton Hotel Briarhill, Galway (20 June @ at 7pm)

By following these guidelines parents and carers can minimize the chances of a tragic incident befalling their child this summer and all through the year:

Actively supervise young children around water

  • Parents must keep an eye on their children at ALL times – they can be easily distracted chatting to other parents, reading a newspaper or talking on the phone
  • Supervising adults should be in arms reach of children under five so that if a child slips underwater, they can be pulled to safety immediately
  • The adult watching MUST be able to swim and not afraid to jump in the water
  • If leaving, even momentarily, take your child with you or designate a known adult to supervise – never leave an older sibling in charge around water.
  • Empty Paddling pools when they are not in use, and turn them upside down.

Read Next: Preventing Accidents In The Home

Be safety conscious at the poolside

  • Make sure there is a qualified lifeguard in attendance before you or your children enter a public swimming pool.
  • Check where the rescue equipment (ring buoy etc.) and lifeguards are.
  • Do not swim in a swimming pool which has cloudy pool water, or where you can’t see the pool bottom.
  • Save the local emergency numbers on your mobile phone.

Flotation devices are not life preservers

  • Toys and inflatables are often unstable and therefore a hazard.

On the Beach

  • Find beaches that are recognised locally as safe to swim, and preferably lifeguarded.
  • Swim within your depth.
  • Find out where the lifeguards are and learn water symbols and flags indicating current beach conditions.
  • Please follow their advice, available at Irish Water Safety’s website.

Stay Sober

  • Drinking can impair your supervision and swimming skills – especially when combined with the mid-day heat.

Learn BLS (Basic Life Support)

  • Survival depends on a quick rescue and basic life support (resuscitation) if a child has stopped breathing.
  • Seconds count using Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to prevent death or brain damage.

Teach your children these water safety rules

  • Always swim with others, never alone.
  • Do not push or jump onto others, or participate in any dangerous behaviour in a swimming pool – i.e. Horseplay, wrestling, running, jumping and dive bombing – it might result in injury.
  • Do not dive into water unless someone has already tested the depth and checked for any underwater hazards. Diving into insufficient water depths can cause face, head and spinal injuries and even death.
  • Know what to do in an emergency and where to get help. Call 112: It is your pan-European number to access the Emergency Services whilst travelling within the EU. In Ireland, 999 and 112 exist equally. The call will be handled in the same manner, whichever number you use.

Boating/Fishing

  • Make sure everybody wears a lifejacket when boating or fishing that is age and size specific and has a correctly-fitting crotch strap.

Read Next: 3 Reasons You Should Bring Your Baby Swimming

Water Babies run classes for babies and toddlers in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Louth, Galway, Sligo, Mayo, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Cork, Kerry and Limerick.  For more info on Water Babies classes, check out www.waterbabies.ie and for adult classes in swimming, water survival and rescue classes, check out www.iws.ie.

As always, we would love to hear your opinions. Please leave a comment below.


About the Author

Emily is our Digital Editor. She has three awesome nieces, and has accidentally worn the same outfit as them on at least one occasion. Emily likes making things, including hand-drawn cards, and a darn good chocolate cake. She still sounds very English, despite living in Dublin for the last nine years. More insight into the workings of her brain can be found on dancingcakesandsilence.blogspot.com.

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