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Stay cool - and safe in the water this summer

Summer in the Midwest can get steamy! We all look to water to help cool us off, but, we want to be sure our kids are safe – no matter the age.

Drowning is a leading cause of injury and death in children from 1 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As a parent, you can play an important role in keeping them safe. 

Kids can drown in as little as 1 inch of water

The weight of a toddlers’ head makes the child top-heavy and prone to falling forward. Watch children around buckets of water, bathtubs and “baby” pools.

Actively watch your children

Do not read, text or socialize when children are in or near water. 90% of drowning deaths occur within 30 feet of safety.

Always know the depth of the water and the strength of any river current 

No diving in less than 9 feet of water. 

Wear a personal flotation device (PFD)

Use a PFD approved by the US Coast Guard when boating and do not swim in the water around boats.

Review safety rules 

Stay away from drains. No running on slippery surfaces. If you see thunder or lightning storms – get out of the water.

Don’t overestimate swimming ability

Older children and teens may overestimate their skill in the water – even if they know how to swim. Always stress safety and responsibility – no reckless activities. Swim with a buddy - never alone.

Most drownings happen silently

Trying to breathe takes precedence over thrashing or calling out. Prevention is key. An adult should scan every face every 10 seconds and be able to reach them in less than 20 seconds.

No child is completely water-safe

Consider enrolling your child in age-appropriate swim lessons. Learning to swim well does take time. Do not expect a child to learn in one set of lessons – or even one season.

Swimming is a great recreational sport that provides great low-impact exercise and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Summer water activities can be fun – and safe with your supervision. 

Jennifer Reiser, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic 192 Dodge Pediatrics

Dr. Reiser answers your questions about child health and parenting. Dr. Reiser enjoys working with children because kids are so fun and innocent and she gets to play all day long. She uses play to make the doctor's office not be so scary and so the kids can still have fun when they are at the doctor. She loves being a pediatrician because working with children allows her to see some of her patients' firsts - like rolling over or taking their first steps. She has a special interest in treat ...

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