Water safety

Families are flocking to swimming pools in the summer heat. Primary Children’s Hospital has some tips on how to keep tots safe around water.

“Bringing babies and toddlers to pools or beaches is a wonderful experience for families and children,” said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “These are cherished memories in the making. That’s why is so important to keep kids safe around water, and remember to remove hidden hazards around your home.”

Jade Elliott spoke with Strong about tips for keeping your children safe around water on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

In Utah, drowning is the second leading cause of preventable injury death for children under age 14, Strong said.

A good way to protect children from tragedy is through planned supervision, Strong said.

“Have a dedicated water watcher who is solely focused on watching the children, and won’t be distracted by a phone call, text, or side conversation,” Strong said. “This is a duty that can be rotated in a group, in 15-minute shifts, for example. Some families choose to wear a lanyard with a water-watcher card as a reminder — to the water watcher and others — of who’s on shift.”

Here are some other tips to keep tots safe at the pool or lake:

  • Teach children to swim.
  • Have children wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets instead of water wings, which can deflate or fall off a child’s arms. Many public pools offer lifejackets to rent or borrow.
  •  If you have a pool, keep a locked gate around it at all times.
  •  If a child is missing, always check nearby water first.
  • Teach children to stay away from water while hiking or camping.
  •  If a child falls into rushing water, call 911. Don’t jump in after them.
  •  Learn CPR.

Strong also recommends parents and caretakers check their homes and yards for hidden water hazards. Kiddie pools, bathtubs, or even buckets with a little water can be hazardous.

“Toddlers are top-heavy,” Strong said. “They can fall in head-first to these containers — and may not be able to get out of the water by themselves.”

When not in use, Strong recommends draining kiddie pools and other containers and turning them upside-down to prevent injury.

More information is available at primarychildrens.org/safety

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.