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Keeping children safe in the water this summer | Wear The Gown

There are five survival skills that all children and teens need to know.

SAN ANTONIO — The coronavirus pandemic has changed much of our lives, including how kids play outside. There are things adults need to know before their children get into any body of water this summer. 

Many people have been working from home for over a year, and with more time at home, may have gotten some kind of pool to keep their kids occupied. But that increase in the number of pools has also lead to an increase in drownings. 

"Even if you have a home pool, and your children are used to being around it, it doesn't mean that you're safe from the dangers of that pool," said Jennifer Northway, the Director of Adult and Pediatric Injury Prevention with University Health. She says every pool, above or in-ground, needs to have a barrier around it. 

"We want to have fencing that's at least four-feet tall so that children can't gain access to that unless adults are present," Northway said. 

Having an adult to actively watch the kids in the water is a must. 

"You need to designate an adult who's not drinking, who's not distracted, who's not involved in conversation or checking their phone that is actually watching the children in the water to make sure nobody is in trouble," Northway told us. 

There are five survival skills that all children and teens need to know:

  1. Can they swim 25 yards in one direction? 
  2. Are they able to jump in the water, go underneath, and then come back up above the water? 
  3. Can they turn around in the water? 
  4. Are they able to exit the pool, either by a ladder or without? 
  5. Can they tread water for at least one minute? 

"Those things combined will ensure that kids and teens have the skills, that should they start to become overwhelmed, they can get out of that dangerous situation," Northway added.  

Northway also says that any child who does not know how to swim needs to be wearing a personal floatation device. And even if they know how to swim, they should one nearby in case any swimmer gets into some kind of trouble.

For more information about family health call (210) 358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear The Gown stories here.

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