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What Your Family Needs to Know About Water Safety BEFORE Memorial Day Weekend

By NJ Kids Contributors on May 19, 2017

Do you have big plans for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend? Thinking about hitting the pool, beach or water park with your family? You are certainly not alone. Many families are planning water-related fun for Memorial Day Weekend to kick off summer -- but families need to make water safety a part of those plans as well.

Sadly, every year communities across the country are impacted by drowning or near-drowning incidents and New Jersey is no different. Water-related accidents can happen fast and parents need to be aware of ways to keep kids safer around water. Pools and beaches are usually even more crowded than usual during the summer holiday weekends so these safety considerations are more important than ever as we head into Memorial Day weekend.

What do parents need to know when it comes to water safety?

First, the facts

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages one to four—and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to the drownings reported, many children also suffer other water-related injuries each summer. This is a topic that every family needs to be aware of.

What does drowning look like? What are the warning signs?

  • Drowning happens quickly. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and in as little time as 20 seconds.
  • Often, adults are around when a child is drowning but they are unaware of what is happening.
  • Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that we see on television is rarely seen in real life. You will not see screaming kids flailing their arms! Constant supervision is important so you notice a child whose face has gone under water or is struggling. If a child is taking on water, he WILL NOT be able to shout out for help.
  • Look for these other signs of drowning:
    • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
    • Head tilted back with mouth open
    • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
    • Eyes closed
    • Not using legs and vertical in the water
    • Hyperventilating or gasping
    • Trying to roll over on the back

What do families need to know when it comes to being safer around the water?

  • Any time kids are around water, designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Many children who drown are supervised.
  • Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
  • Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water.
  • The American Red Cross says that the number one thing that parents can do to keep kids safer around water is to enroll them in swim lessons.

What other local resources are available to educate kids about water safety?

Goldfish Swim School has a Water Safety Program that we bring to local schools, day care centers, summer camps and community groups to educate kids and families about water safety basics. We are happy to bring this FREE, engaging program to interested community organizations to teach kids the basics of water safety. We encourage any interested organizations to reach out to us to schedule a water safety presentation.

Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student-teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. Goldfish Swim School has locations in Wyckoff and Livingston (opening September 2017). Please visit the website for more information: goldfishswimschool.

Locations:

Wyckoff: 327 Franklin Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ 07481.  201-254-3474
Livingston: 277 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston, NJ 07039.  973-664-SWIM

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By NJ Kids Contributors| May 19, 2017
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