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Published on June 16, 2020

young girl splashing in pool with mom spraying water

Water Safety Tips for Summer Fun Part 1

This is the first of two blogs on water safety. Read the second part.

Summer in South Dakota means it’s time to splash in the lake, visit a pool or water park or just wade and have fun in a backyard kiddie pool. Before we enjoy, we should review the basics of safety, especially for kids.

Imagine a scenario where Timmy, an 18-month-old boy, is playing in the yard while mom sits nearby. Mom goes inside for just a minute. Even though the wading pool was emptied yesterday, last night’s rainfall has filled it with a couple of inches of water and Timmy is heading in that direction.

Supervision is the key to water safety. Very young children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. If they fall in head first and inhale water, they sometimes do not know enough to or are not physically able to get themselves out of the water.

Tips for Drowning Prevention at Home

  • Never leave a young child unattended in the bath or near water, even for a few seconds or even if the baby is in a bath restraint device. Continue to supervise children in the bathtub until at least age 6.
  • Use toilet locking devices and always empty buckets, coolers or other containers of water immediately. Mobile infants and toddlers have large heads and tend to be “top heavy.” If they fall into one of these containers, they do not have the upper body strength to get themselves out.
  • Be aware of the additional danger of combining water and electricity. Be sure bathrooms are equipped with ground fault interrupter outlets and keep any electrical appliances—hair dryers, curling irons, radios, etc.—out of sight and out of reach in the bathroom.
  • Cover faucets that are accessible to children with a safety device that prevents them from turning on the water. Be sure your water heater is turned to a medium setting of about 120 degrees F.
  • Empty wading pools after each use and turn upside down. Watch for other areas in the yard where water might accumulate.

If you have a water feature or decorative pond in your yard, you will have to be extra careful. Remember, a toddler can drown in 2 inches of water. Keep doors to the outside locked. You may want to install a door alarm so you know if your toddler or young child leaves the house

If your home is near a creek, pond or other natural body of water, you may want to invest in a fence.

Tips to Keep Kids Safe around Pools and Spas

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4. Children can drown in the time it takes to answer a phone call. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Rigid pool or spa covers are one of the best ways to provide safety for young children. These devices can completely cover the water, preventing access. Make sure the cover meets safety guidelines and regulations. It should hold the weight of two adults and one child, in case someone has to go out onto the cover to help someone stranded there.
  • Check local regulations for fences and alarms. Consider an alarm system on doors leading to the pool or spa, and motion detectors that sense movement in the water.
  • Once you leave the water, make sure children cannot return without your knowledge. Gates to the pool area should be self-closing and self-latching
  • A child is more likely to go back in the pool if a toy is left floating in the pool. When you leave the pool area, take the toys with you.
  • If you are using an inflatable pool, drain it when you are through.

These tips on water safety can hopefully help you and your family have plenty of fun without any of the worries. We hope you have a wonderful, safe summer!

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