At Aquatots we pride ourselves in not only teaching babies and children how to swim but also giving them the skills to save their own lives (and during our higher levels the skills to save others!). Having these skills does reduce the risk of serious water related incidents BUT accidents happen especially to young children and we ask that you NEVER become complacent about the dangers, teach your children to respect water and always supervise them when they are around water.
We have put together some information and tips to help keep you and your children safe especially during the warmer summer months.
- As babies cannot control their movements they will be unable to save themselves if they slip under the water – always stay with them.
- Bath seats are not safety devices, babies can still wriggle free of them.
- Older siblings are not mature enough to look after a baby or toddler in the bath – please do not burden them with this responsibility.
- Empty the bath of water when your child gets out.
- Wind blowing off the land can give the sea a calm appearance but it can easily sweep airbeds and inflatables off dangerously quickly.
- Teach your children to stay within the red and yellow coloured flags as these parts of the beach are patrolled by lifeguards.
- When visiting different countries, check on their beach rules.
- Teach your children that when an orange windsock is up it means the sea is more dangerous than usual.
- Be extra cautious about using deserted beaches if you are swimming as you may need assistance!
- Invest in a wetsuit for your child – lots of wetsuits also have UV protection. Ensure that the wetsuit fits snugly as they work by warming up the layer of water that is trapped between the wetsuit and the skin. If the wetsuit is too big it will not keep your child warm. AQUATOTS ONLINE SHOP
- Find out about tide times and ensure that you and your children do not play or walk somewhere that can be cut off by the tide coming in.
- Teach your children under 10 years old the ‘Never more than a pace away’ rule.
- Teach your child the difference between wave types:
- Spilling waves are the safest to play and swim in, you can recognise these as the ones where the top of the wave falls down in front of itself.
- Surging waves don’t break and can easily knock over an adult and drag them out to sea.
- Dumping waves break with great force in shallow water, these waves are very powerful and dangerous and normally occur at low tide.
Water Safety in the garden
- Do not leave your child unattended, it can take less than 20 seconds for a toddler to drown in 5cm of water!
- Always empty the water out of a paddling pool immediately after use.
- Place pools face down or hang them up – be aware that rain water can collect on the top of pool covers.
Swimming pools/hot tubs
- Install a fence which is at least 4 foot high, the slats of the fence should be less than 4 inches apart and the gate should be self-closing and latching and in good working order.
- Ensure the surrounding area is clear of any items or equipment that is close enough to the pool fence that children could climb over.
- Always pack away pool toys as they are very tempting to young child who may reach out to grab them.
- Check if your neighbours have any exposed water on their property and be especially vigilant for any opportunities (broken fence, hole in a hedge) where a child could gain access to their land.
- When visiting other people’s houses, ask whether there is any exposed water on their land – particularly ponds.
- Be aware that young children have been known to wriggle under pool covers!
- Do not rely on pool alarms as they have not proven to be effective!
Other bodies of water i.e. lakes and rivers
- Always ensure your children (and yourself) are wearing buoyancy aids AT ALL TIMES when partaking in any water sports such as sailing and canoeing.
- Canals, lakes and rivers are dangerous even to strong swimmers so teach your children from a very young age to never take unnecessary risks in water.
- Water feels warmer at the edges but can dramatically plummet the further out you go, it can suddenly become cold enough to put a child’s body into shock!
- Children under 10 still need constant supervision even if they are confident swimmers as they are liable to forget instructions when they get excited.
- Hidden debris, pockets of freezing water, weeds, abrupt shelving, unstable beds and unknown water depths all need to be considered when swimming/paddling in often murky, cloudy water.
- NEVER swim in reservoirs, as along with the dangers mentioned above they also may have unseen underwater currents from pipework.
- Check that there is a way out of the water as some lake/river banks can be too steep or unstable to climb back out.
- Be cautious of dangers and know the water depth before diving or tombstoning into water – as a rule of thumb, a jump of ten metres requires a depth of at least five metres
What to Do in an Emergency
- Whenever a child is missing, always check the water first. Survival depends on a quick rescue and restarting breathing as soon as possible.
- If you find a child in the water, immediately get the child out while calling loudly for help. If someone else is available, have them call 999.
- Check to make sure the child’s air passages are clear.
- If the child is not breathing, start CPR if you are trained to do so. When the emergency number is called, follow the instructions the emergency operators provide.
- If you think the child may have suffered a neck injury, such as from diving, keep the child on his or her back and brace the neck and shoulders with your hands and forearms to help keep the neck from moving until emergency help arrives. This type of immobilization minimizes further injury to the spine and is best done by someone who is trained in the technique.
- Keep the child still and speak in calm tones to keep the child comforted.
- Continue to watch for adequate breathing.