Turning the tides on child drowning
Rebecca Wear Robinson
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Summer Check-List

by Rebecca Wear Robinson on June 6, 2012

Summer’s here!!! School is ending, the weather is trending towards hot and sunny, the pools and beaches open for the season, and you are thinking it might just be safe to wash the snow pants.

So, what do you need to be ready for summer?

Swimsuits and goggles – check to make sure last year’s still fit and they aren’t falling apart from the sunshine, salt and chlorine. And if you have a child who won’t put their head in the water, goggles might be the answer.
Sunscreen. Do what the Australians do – keep a bottle by the back door and have everyone slap on a bit more every time they go out.
Water toys. The more interesting the toys in your beach bag, the less of the teasing/fighting/whining as the ‘toy’ becomes a younger sibling. I love splash bombs, small torpedoes (not the big ones, they can hurt), diving rings and self-propelled sharks. Not only are they fun, but they keep your child diving and playing in the water which builds confidence and strength. I also have an entire basket of splash bombs in my basement for battles during the cold winter months – a great way to burn off steam safely.
Flotation device. What is a parent to do when you are at the pool with more than one child and they aren’t truly accomplished swimmers? We know ‘always watch your children’, but having two active kids myself I can tell you it’s not humanly possible, especially in a crowded pool. Either a Coast-Guard approved life vest or a Swim Fin. It looks like a shark fin, so it’s totally cool, and it keeps beginner swimmers afloat. What I like best is that it keeps arms and legs completely free to practice their skills, safely, and kids love wearing them – it gives new meaning to the game ‘sharks and minnows’. Also amazing for helping good swimmers improve their stroke, especially butterfly. Contact www.swimfin.co.uk to find out where to buy them near you. As for the inflatable arm bands, they are a toy, not a safety device. Too easy to deflate or slip off. If you aren’t constantly within arm’s reach of your child in the water and they can’t swim well, relegate the arm bands to the toy basket.
Rules. Number one rule: Never go near water without a grownup. Train your kids to tell you ‘I’m going into the pool’. I’m going to the water slide’ ‘I’m going to be near the fountain’ ‘I’m going down by the lake’, and then make sure you are watching them. Teach your kids how to be safe near the water, to self-regulate their behavior so they are safe for a lifetime, not just a minute. Best rule for adults? Assign a water-watcher – an adult whose only job for 10 minutes is to watch the kids, and only watch the kids – no chatting, no texting, no magazines – and then ‘tap’ the next adult so that you can all have a good time and your kids will be safe.
HAVE FUN!!!! My pool/beach bag is packed, bring on summer!

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