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2013 Summer Survival Guide: Water Safety

The MD Moms report on keeping safe at the beach and by the pool

pool baby

After reading through the CPSC's latest report on pool injuries and fatalities (and how often the victims are children under five), we thought it was a good idea to check in with our pediatric expert, Dr. JJ Levenstein of MD Moms, for some straightforward guidance on summer water safety. Here are five key things to keep in mind.

1. Children may drown in just an inch or two of water. Always stay within an arm's length of your child when he is in or near water.

2. If attending a party or gathering where there is a pool or spa, be sure at least one adult is completely focused on watching your little ones. Take turns with a trusted friend or your spouse or partner; change "shifts” every 15 to 20 minutes so you can enjoy the party in spurts. Hire a lifeguard if you anticipate a pool full of kids.

3. Children can drown in the water in buckets or pails, or in the standing water from melted ice in a cooler. Empty all buckets, pails, and coolers (and bathtubs) completely—and immediately—after each use.

4. If you go to a beach with a lifeguard, park your family very close to the lifeguard and swim where the lifeguard can see you.

5. It's imperative to fence a swimming pool with an automatically latching gate. And use a rigid, lockable cover on a hot tub, spa, or whirlpool—or fence in all four sides as you would for a swimming pool.

Oh, and if you're considering swim lessons, check out the AAP's most recent policy statement on drowning prevention—it's now much more encouraging of swim lessons for toddlers ages 1 to 3.