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Water Safety for Utah’s Children

Children swimming

Tips from Families First Pediatrics and Goldfish Swim School

Research shows that 70% of drowning deaths among children age 15 and younger occur from May through August. This statistic underlines a critical need for vigilance and preventative measures to protect our youngest and most vulnerable from the hidden dangers of water.

Families First Pediatrics and Goldfish Swim School have teamed up to provide the following water safety tips and offer a golden opportunity for a free swim lesson to ensure a safer summer for all.

Tip 1: Safe Swimmer Guard: Always Watching

It’s easy for adults in social groups to assume everyone’s watching the kids. Goldfish Swim School teaches the concept of appointing a safe swimmer guard so an adult always has eyes on children playing in and around water.

  • Adults can take turns being the water watcher every thirty minutes. You can even give the guardian a silly hat to let everyone know who’s currently on duty.
  • A water guardian is free from distractions like phones, books, or conversations that take their attention away from the water.

Tip 2: Fence It, Lock It, Drain It, Shut It

Goldfish Swim School emphasizes the mantra “Fence It, Lock It, Drain It, Shut It,” highlighting the multifaceted approach needed to secure all water sources. The Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that as many as 69% of young children who are found drowned or submerged in swimming pools were not expected to be in or at the pool.

  • Install a four-sided fence with self-locking gates around pools to prevent unsupervised access to water.
  • Store pool toys away from the water to discourage children from trying to retrieve them unsupervised.
  • Ensure bathtubs are fully drained after use, and secure bathroom doors with childproof locks to mitigate risks inside the home.
  • Toddlers can drown in even a tiny amount of water. Empty all containers holding water, such as buckets or pails, immediately after use.

These steps, though simple, are effective in creating a safer environment for children.

Tip 3: Protect Their Skin with Sunscreen

With water usually also come the dangers of too much sun. Protect your child’s skin and eyes from the harmful effects of the sun.

  • For children 6 months and older, apply mineral-based sunscreen with an SPF of 30 at least 15-30 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy days.
  • Regular sunscreen reapplication is critical to preventing sunburn and providing protection from sun damage. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and again after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
  • Apply sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to sensitive areas of the skin, such as the nose, cheeks, ears, and shoulders. Remember, these types of sunscreens may remain visible after application.
  • Avoid sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when UV rays are at full strength.
  • Provide children with youth-sized sunglasses that provide 99% UV protection.
  • Protect babies younger than 6 months from direct sunlight. Shade them beneath trees or portable canopies, and dress them in light, breathable layers.

Tip 4: Wear Life Jackets & Life Preservers

While pool floaties are popular among children because of their fun designs and buoyancy, they are not reliable life-saving devices.

  • Use only U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets and life preservers.
  • Coast Guard-approved flotation devices are designed to provide genuine lifesaving buoyancy and are available in four types depending on situational use.
  • Teach your children how to use life jackets.
  • Provide life jackets that fit appropriately and have neck support (if needed).
  • Lead by example. Wear a life jacket and encourage fellow parents and guardians to do the same.
  • Life jackets should be worn whenever a child is near water to protect them if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly.

Tip 5: Teach Children to Swim

Teaching your child to swim is one of the most effective ways to help them be safer in and around water. When the time is right for your child, swim lessons are one of the most effective layers of protection against drowning that a parent or guardian can provide.

  • Swimming is not just a recreational activity but a crucial life skill that can prevent drowning.
  • Goldfish Swim School offers structured swim lessons that are fun, educational, and tailored to the learning pace of each child.

To encourage families to take this vital step, Goldfish Swim School offers a free swim lesson and a waiver of registration fees for first-time registrants when you use the coupon code available on this page.

A Commitment to Community Safety

The collaboration between Families First Pediatrics and Goldfish Swim School is a community-wide commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our children. By following these tips and taking proactive steps to educate our children about water safety, we can look forward to a summer filled with joyous memories.

Sources:
https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/359.pdf

https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2021/american-academy-of-pediatrics-identifies-children-most-at-risk-of-drowning-and-recommends-layers-of-protection-to-prevent-tragedy/

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/life-jackets-and-life-preservers.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Swim-Lessons.aspx

Camie Goff, NP

Camie Goff, NP

Camie practices pediatrics in our Riverton office.

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