Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children. Here are a few tips that adult companions should definitely heed when going to the pool or lake.
Do not leave children unattended
The most important bathing rule for people accompanying children: only allow children to go into the water accompanied – supervise small children within reach! Even swimming aids such as wings or rings do not replace personal supervision.
Alarmingly, the most common trigger for drowning accidents in children under the age of six is neglect of parental supervision! For example, because the supervisor allows himself to be distracted by a conversation or is looking at his mobile phone, as an expert from the Swiss life-saving society SLRG says: “People tend to underestimate how long they have been inattentive.”
Leave the phone in your pocket
Reading the newspaper, doing e-mails, online shopping during the bathing break – it all sounds wonderful, but not when you’re with the kids at the outdoor pool or at the lake.
Also be careful during the swimming breaks
Swimming accidents often happen outside of the actual bathing times, for example while families are eating or playing and a child disappears unnoticed into the water.
Always coordinate exactly who is in charge
Children can drown even when several adults are present—when no one is specifically supervising the pool. If parents are bathing with a group of several adults and children, they should consciously designate one (or several, depending on the number of children) of the adults to supervise them and take turns on the watch shifts.
Equip children as best as possible
In addition to life jackets or life wings, the color of the swimsuit also contributes to safety: children with bright, bright colors such as neon yellow or orange are best seen in the water.
Don’t underestimate the baby pool
Even in a toddler pool, a small child can drown! The center of gravity of small children is higher than that of adults, the heavy head automatically pulls a small child forward and down. Therefore, even shallow water can be life-threatening.
Children under the age of three also lack the necessary strength to keep their heads above water. In addition, they do not know what is happening to them in the water and do not call for help, but sink silently.
Practice correct behavior on and in the water
This begins in infancy with playful getting used to water (baby swimming) and, depending on the age and type of the children, continues with swimming courses – an ideal prevention against dangerous situations in the water.
“Dry exercises” on land can also increase children’s water skills. But be careful: If the child has completed such offers, this can also give a false sense of security. It is recognized that parental supervision remains the most central element of safety in children’s activities around, in and on the water.
Take a first aid course
Various institutions offer such courses for emergencies, also specifically for dealing with children.
Secure private waters
Do you have a garden with a biotope or a pool? The water magically attracts children, even if they are in strange gardens. So be sure to cover or fence in securely. For a fence, the access door should be self-closing and snap-fit.