It’s National Water Safety Month: 5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safer This Summer

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Image via Flickr/ AnneCN

After such a long winter, we are all dreaming of swimming this summer. While hitting the pool can be a fun way for a family to spend time and be active together, the importance of water safety cannot be overstated. According to the National Alliance of Drowning Prevention, “Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children ages 1 to 4” and “the second leading cause for kids ages 1 to 14.”

That's no reason to pack the suits away. It simply means that families need to educate themselves about the risks involved and ensure that everyone has a set of ground rules in place. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Remember your goal is to be “safer.” As the Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation discusses, being safe around water implies that you are free of danger. That's simply not the case. Whenever kids are around water, parents need to remain attentive. When a set of water-play guidelines is in place, you can become safer, but there is no guarantee. Stay alert.

2. Asking permission is a must. As a mom to two young kids who are overconfident in their abilities, this is the most important rule we have: You don't enter the water without asking permission. If you do, you're sidelined. Period. Knowing when and where your children are entering the water is critical, especially at crowded pools in the summer.

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3. Get enrolled in swim lessons – and be picky. Not all swim lessons are created equal! When selecting a swim program, check out curriculum, instructor training, read reviews, and talk to parents whose children are enrolled.

Looking for a parent/tot class? Some programs begin as early as a few months of age. While the American Academy of Pediatrics has not extended their recommendation for children's formal water safety programs under age one, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't check out classes for your little ones. Most swim classes focus less on water safety skills for your baby and more on getting acclimated to the water and teaching parents about positioning, cues, and building a foundation to assist their child as they grow and become independent in the water.

Not sure where to start? The United States Swim School Association has approximately 400 members.

4. Keep emergency response supplies poolside, including a phone. Don't waste time! The National Water Safety Month website emphasizes “four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.” Not sure what you need? Pool Safely provides suggestions.

{ MORE: My Baby is Breech, But I'm Not Going To Stress About It }

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5. Keep your CPR certification updated. Many organizations, including the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, provide CPR classes for infant, child, and adult CPR, along with AED use. Make sure your certification is up to date, along with those of older siblings and caregivers.

All it takes is a few simple steps to keep your family safer this summer. Enjoy the pool and don't forget the sunscreen!

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It’s National Water Safety Month: 5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safer This Summer

Tracy Jensen is a writer, marketer, mother, fundraiser, marathoner, and music lover. A working, single mom of two kids ages six and five, she is notorious for doing things the hard way. In addition to writing for EverydayFamily, she survives suburban exile by blogging about life’s foibles at It Builds Character. She can be found at night ignoring the dishes and playing on Twitter. ... More

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