Lake homes have a timeless appeal for both children and adults, since people of all ages are so wildly attracted to the water. Keeping everyone safe around the water needs to be a top priority though because of potential threats in and around the lake or any body of water. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. Ten people die from unintentional drowning in the U.S. every day, and of these ten drownings, two are children aged 14 or younger.
The following is a number of critical child water safety tips that will help to keep your children and your family safe around the lake.
Undergo the Right Training
The right training can help prevent a disaster, which is why young children that spend any time around water should start learning about water safety early – between between the ages of one to four years old. The American Red Cross designs programs for kids ages six and over, and provides age-appropriate training to help children become strong swimmers.
In addition to swimming lessons, adults in the family can also take CPR and first aid courses that are extremely valuable to have under all conditions.
Boating safety courses are also a must if you spend any time at all on the water. If none are taught in your area, you can take them online for free by visiting the Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water’s website.
Keeping Children Protected
The best way to avoid a water injury is to ensure you have the proper deterrents in place to keep children from accessing the water without supervision in the first place. Adult supervision is the first line of defense in child water safety and can’t be replaced, but here are a few tips that can help to protect children as well:
- Place childproof locks on all your doors, and keep them engaged at all times
- Install alarms on all doors and windows so you will be alerted whenever one of them is opened
- Avoid letting children play unsupervised on open decks
- Install a fence with a lockable gate around your backyard, ensuring the fence is high enough to prevent little ones from climbing over
Establishing Safety Rules
Establishing a set of rules with your kids very early on in their lives is absolutely critical to avoid potential disaster. The most important water safety rules include:
- Never swim alone, always take a buddy
- Always use floatation assistance devices for less-skilled swimmers
- Never swim after dark
- Tell an adult immediately if another child they observe goes to the lake unsupervised
Create Water Boundaries
Children should be made aware of water “boundaries” in order to keep them safe. You can do this by:
- Establishing a point in your backyard that children may not pass unless they are with an adult
- Clearly pointing out the areas that are designated for swimming
- Letting your children know how far into the water they may go
- Pointing out areas where boats travel so that kids can avoid them
Safety Rules for Adults
There should also be some basic water safety rules for adults to follow as well:
- No alcohol, no exceptions – anyone responsible for supervising children on or around the water should be sober
- Everyone wears a life jacket – regardless of swimming ability, everyone MUST wear a life jacket on any boat
- No glass of any kind near the water
Keep these safety tips in mind to prevent injuries, or worse yet, tragedies on the lake. Making water safety a top priority is critical to ensure your children and the rest of your family can enjoy the water and everything else the lake has to offer while remaining protected from some of its dangers.