WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Summer is in full gear and that means more people will hit the pool.
KSN researched a few tips to help parents keep their kids safe, whether they’re swimming at a public pool or in the backyard.
One of the easiest ways to keep kids safe is to continue swim lessons from home, according to Kasey Williams, senior program director for the Greater Wichita YMCA.
“We talk about swim lessons, but it’s practicing the things you learn in swim lessons,” she said. “We take for granted how lifesaving it is for a child to be able to roll onto their back. That’s all it is. It’s a back float,but they can yell for help, and they can breathe and they’re calm.”
Parents should be aware of their child’s skill level and always keep an eye on them while swimming, Williams said.
There are several dangerous red flags that should alert a parent that it may be time for their child to take a break from swimming.
Those red flags are called the “Dangerous Too’s.” If a child says they’re too hot, too cold, too tired, too sunburnt or too far from where they can stand, it might be time to step in.
“We talk a lot about wall climbing so even the lifeguards here are trained for that,” Williams said. “But if you see a child walking along the wall it can mean a couple of things. It can mean friends are in deeper water and they want to get to them but they know they can’t swim, they can be too tired, they might not feel well. That’s a telltale sign for a parent and a lifeguard that this child is probably not comfortable in the water.”
For that reason, Williams said, it is suggested children take a break every 45 minutes to regroup in the shade with some water and reapply sunscreen.
Finally, choosing the right flotation device for a child is an important step to keeping them safe.
The safest option is a Coastguard-approved life vest made of foam. Flotation devices made of air can easily pop or deflate and don’t support the child’s entire body.
“It’s that false sense of security that your child gets away from you and somehow the air starts leaking out,” Williams said. “They can go under so quickly that there’s little time to react.”
For more tips on pool safety, click here.