The weather is finally warming up and if your kiddos are like mine, that means they are thinking about getting in the water. With Memorial Day just a little over a week away and pools everywhere preparing to open for endless hours of summer fun, the last thing on any mom’s mind is tragedy. And while I’m all for a summer of splish splashing fun, I’m educating myself about the dangers to my little swimmers and trying to ensure that every time they are near the water, every water safety precaution is being taken to ensure that they are safe.
Now, why the worry you ask? I’ll admit that I’m a little bit of a helicopter mom. I don’t let my kids out of my site when we’re out and especially when we’re around water. I’m constantly looking. Constantly checking. And I have a good reason for what may seem to some as over-protectiveness. If I told you that on average 382 children younger than 15 fatally drowned every year between 2010 and 2012 in pools or spas, would that surprise you? What about the fact that an estimated average of 5,400 children younger than 15 were treated each year between 2012 and 2014 in emergency rooms for pool or spa related submersion injuries? Want to get even scarier? The vast majority of these children were younger than 5. So, now do you understand my concerns? Are you looking at your children a little closer when they are at the pool? I would think so and you should be. But thankfully, I’ve partnered with The ZAC Foundation, founded following the drowning death of 6-year old Zachary Archer Cohn, to share with you a few water safety tips for your children.
Knowledge is power and that is definitely true when it comes to water safety. As a mom, I myself have been guilty of thinking that swimmies and a stern talking to were enough to discourage my little dare devil from trouble. But when I recently stumbled across The ZAC foundation, I discovered that I had so much more to learn. Through their education and advocacy programs, The ZAC Foundation provides tons of water safety tips, resources and programming for parents and children of all ages. While the specific focus of the foundation is on ages children 5-9, they are helping equip parents with children of all ages with water safety resources.
Through their resources, I’m able to learn as a parent about the very real water dangers that face my children and instead of reacting out of fear when they are in the water, I’m able to ensure that I’m using the best possible resources to work towards my next tip.
Teach Your Children
Knowledge is great for moms and dads but once we have that knowledge, it’s up to us to teach our children to respect pools, lakes, oceans and any bodies of water they are around. I would never have in a million years thought that drain safety would need to be a concern of mine but drain entrapment, where a person or an object attached to a person is sucked into a pool or spa drain and becomes stuck by the drain’s force, is something that every parent should know about. The ZAC foundation is teaching parents like me simple steps to avoid this possibly catastrophic situation with tips like having drains regularly checked by a licensed maintenance professional, shutting down the pool or spa immediately if the drain cover becomes loose or falls off and preventing anyone from entering the pool or spa area until drain covers have been repaired by a licensed professional.
I’m going to be honest and admit that I’d never even considered this concern. I have been more worried about the kids hitting their head or falling in without their swimmies on so this valuable piece of information has made me better prepared to ensure my children’s safety and has allowed me to educate them in away that could save lives.
Learn Your ABC&D’s
I truly believe that knowing the danger is half the battle but being prepared for it is the rest. Through The ZAC Foundation, I discovered that learning about water safety and teaching it to my kids is as easy and learning the alphabet!
- ADULT: Never let children be alone near or in a pool, ocean, lake, or river. Children should be taught to never swim without an adult present.
- BARRIER: Have a four-sided fence that goes around your pool with a self-locking gate.
- CLASSES: Kids and adults should take safety classes like swim lessons and CPR.
- DRAINS: ALL swimmers should stay away from all pool and spa drains to avoid becoming trapped by the suction
While I know I’ll never take my eyes off of my kids while they are in the water, knowing these ABC&D’s allow me to be prepared for their time spent around water and ensure their safety when they are in the pool. It gives me the peace of mind to know that I’m doing everything in my power to make their water filled experiences wonderful while keeping them safe.
Before you consider opening your own pool, heading to your neighborhood pool or simple helping your child discover the love of water this year, make sure you know all you need to about water safety! Start by checking out this video from The ZAC Foundation on drain entrapment. Or perhaps sign up for an education ZAC Camp. They teach your young children about water safety with the fun and informational book from The ZAC Foundation, The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim. This educational and entertaining story about a young polar bear named Zeke who is afraid of the water and refuses to swim is a perfect way to introduce your child to basic water safety principals and teach them valuable lessons about staying safe while swimming.
Mamas (and dads too) don’t wait! Don’t think that you’ll have time to teach your children water safety later. Do it today. Because the tomorrow you are changing may be your own.
To learn more about The ZAC Foundation and check out all of their amazing water safety resources, click here.
Ready to win some fun items to make summer even more amazing? The ZAC Foundation is giving away 15 summer fun kits (ARV $50)!
To enter, simply use the form below.
Then tell me, how do you teach your kids about water safety?