Children love a good splash about, not just in the bathtub – they’ll take it as it comes… in a pool, bucket, bowl, puddle and yes, even the toilet!
Though we all repeat the warning, ‘A child can drown in less than an inch of water’, many parents aren’t fully sure on how to protect their little ones around water.
Water is everywhere, so keeping them away from it is out of the question! Plus it’s good to introduce little ones to water at an early age, and educate them on what is and isn’t safe.
A few simple safety measures will ensure that you, and your little ones understand the risks, allowing them to play freely, and safely, and giving you peace of mind…
Another no-brainer, though often forgotten, never leave your child unattended in the bath, even for a minute. If the phone rings and you really do have to answer it, take baby out of the bath to answer the phone with you.
Fill the bath with only 3 to 4 inches of warm water. It’s always wise to put the cold water in first, then add the warm water to heat it up. A bath full of scalding hot water waiting to cool is an extremely dangerous hazard. Don’t leave the bathroom as the bath is filling up – a child could easily lean over and fall in without you knowing.
Use a slip resistant rubber mat to prevent slipping, or a bath rail to enable them to get out more easily.
Keep the toilet lid down (preferably secured with a toilet lock).
Keep bottles and other items away from the bath – children may be tempted to stand up to reach for bottles of bubble bath, magazines, cosmetics etc. lying about.
At The Pool
You may want to wait until your baby can hold up her head on her own (usually by 4 or 5 months) before taking them swimming in a pool or lake.
Invest in a pair of swimming aids such as Monkey Swimmers to give them buoyancy and confidence in the water. Never rely on inflatable toys to keep your child safe in the water.
A floatsuit such as this one from JakaBel will provide buoyancy and an anti-tip neckring. Available from 2 years and up they’re great for children who aren’t able to swim.
Don’t dunk a baby underwater. Although infants may naturally hold their breath, they’re just as likely to swallow water. Babies are more susceptible to the bacteria and viruses in pool water that can cause them to become ill.
Don’t leave toys beside a pool, which will draw your child towards the edge where they may slip or fall in.
What To Do In An Emergency
If your child slips under for a moment during a bath or while playing in the pool, they’ll most likely come up quickly with a cough and splutter. Often children will dunk and dive under water and stay there for longer. Don’t rush to their aid at the slightest sign of them dipping their head under – it’s natural to be cautious but don’t overreact.
There are a number of signs to look for in the event of a person 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
• Hair over forehead or eyes
• Not using legs—vertical
• Hyperventilating or gasping
• Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
• Trying to roll over on the back
• Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder
• Pushing down on the water with their arms in order to keeping their head raised
In the event of an emergency, follow these steps:
Lift them out of the water and wrap them in a towel. Carry them to a safe place and lie them face up on a firm surface.
Listen to hear if the child is breathing and using your hand, try to feel any movement of air coming out of their mouth.
Gently tap or shake them to see if they respond. If they’re unresponsive, not breathing, or have no pulse, seek help immediately.
If someone is nearby, shout for help and tell them to call 999. Stay with your child as the other person goes for help. If you’re alone, quickly find a phone to make the call and return to your child.
If you are fully trained, you can perform CPR until your child is able to breathe on their own. If you’re not first aid trained, wait until the ambulance arrives – you could cause them more harm if you don’t perform CPR correctly.
Water safety needn’t be a scary situation – taking the time to put in place a few simple safety measures and a secure emergency strategy will ensure peace of mind no matter where you are. After all, there’s a lot of water about!
Thanks to Francesco Pia, Ph.D for his drowning response signals.
Written by Sian Peak at Simple Safety Solutions – http://www.simplesafetysolutions.com/