Water Safety: 4 Expert Tips for Parents of Toddlers

Christine Coppa
Toddlers & Preschoolers
5


Flickr photo by wacek
May is National Water Safety Month -- what perfect timing. The pool at our condo is already brimming with water and my 2 1/2-year-old son JD says, "Go swimming?!" when we pass the fenced deck area on our nightly stroll.

When we're at the pool, I keep a life vest on JD and, of course, a careful eye. I don't want him to be afraid of big bodies of water, so I dunked him under early on and taught him how to blow bubbles -- we did a mommy and me swim class as well. After the jump, more water-safety tips for your tot via AtlantiCare Hospital -- the first hospital in the US to offer self-rescue swimming lessons from Infant Swimming Resource.

Put Toys Away: Remove all toys from the pool when they're not in use -- colorful objects can be very attractive to little eyes -- a young child with limited depth perception may walk harmlessly into the deep end to grab a ball.

Eliminate Distractions: The leading cause of distractions around the pool is an adult leaving to answer the phone (or scroll through her "CrackBerry" or iPhone). If you must read an email or answer a ringing phone, get the kids out of the water first -- period.

Teach Water Safety:
Do your research in selecting an effective swimming program -- instructors should have current CPR and first-aid certification. Also, teach by your example -- never swim alone, obey lifeguard warnings, refrain from running around pool decks, follow "no diving" signs, and always wear a life jacket when boating, fishing, or playing in or near deep or fast-moving water.

Note Flotation Device Dangers: Flotation devices such as armbands, floatation rings (aka "floaties"), and inflatable toys give parents and children a false sense of security. These devices can shift suddenly, deflate, or slip from underneath, leaving a child in a very dangerous situation.

Does your toddler take swimming lessons?


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