FRANKFORT, Ky. (7/20/13) – With the summer months coming on full-force, many local adults will spend a lot of time on local lakes, rivers, streams and other waterways. So far, within the last month, two children have lost their lives via drowning incidents within the state of Kentucky. With this in mind, it is vital that adults who take children to open water areas be aware of all safety precautions in advance.
First, make sure that any children that are in the water swimming, or even near water, are properly supervised. Make certain that a responsible adult is present at all times. The children may know how to swim already, and might be quite good at it, but children do not always make good choices and cannot control the environment in or near water.
Next, let the kids know that rivers, lakes and other natural water environments are not the same as swimming pools. There will not always be a smooth bottom or a ladder nearby to exit the water. There may be current, whereas pools have no current. Children need to approach natural water environments with caution in their minds.
Next up, many parents will take their kids shopping before going swimming. They will buy popular flotation devices, such as tubes. It is vital that the parent or guardian makes sure that they are purchasing the correct equipment. Just because a child thinks something looks “cool” does not mean that it will provide proper protection in natural water environments. It is important that you always use Coast Guard approved flotation devices.
Next up, if you plan on spending time in the water with children, be sure that you know the proper procedure for CPR. Hopefully it won’t be necessary to ever use it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can check with your local fire department and/or hospital regarding CPR classes. They are almost always free and open to the public.
Remember, a child will not always make the correct choice and will often take risks that an adult would not take. Be prepared and be cautious when taking a child swimming. You, as a parent or guardian, are their ultimate safety factor.
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