Water safety is hugely important for children to learn from a very young age. Water-related accidents can happen almost anywhere there is water, even in bathtubs where there is an inch or two of water. However, if your home has a hot tub inside or outside, your family is at an increased risk of water-related injuries and illnesses.
According to the CDC, unintentional drownings and water-related injuries are a big problem across the United States. From 2005 to 2014, over 3,500 people were killed in unintentional drownings, and of these, 20% were children under the age of 14. Five times as many people as this had to be treated in an emergency room for a water-related accident during this time. Consider these three ways that to teach children about water safety and to keep them safe in a home with a hot tub.
Take Children To Water Safety Lessons
To ensure that children learn the basics of water safety, sign them up for water safety classes as well as swimming classes. Sometimes these lessons are given together, but occasionally, organizations, such as the American Red Cross, may offer separate safety lessons. During safety lessons, children will be taught skills when there is no water present so that they will be ready for the unexpected when it occurs. They will be taught how to use life jackets and how to safely get in and out of pools. During swimming lessons, very young children will be taught how to hold their breath underwater and how to float on their backs and on their stomachs. Older children will be taught how to jump from the side of a pool or a diving board as well as a variety of strokes to help them swim.
Teach Water Safety At Home, The Pool And The Beach
Parents have the prime responsibility of teaching water safety to their children because they are the ones most frequently present at the pool or beach. Parents should first teach children to respect any boundaries that have been placed around water, such as signs at beaches and fences around pools or hot tubs. These boundaries can demonstrate that a body of water could be dangerous without proper supervision, which brings parents to the second lesson of teaching that an adult supervisor should always be present. While swimming lessons can teach children to be confident in any type of water, they are not foolproof methods of protecting children. Instead, a parent or at minimum a lifeguard or other caregiver should always be present when children are in or near water.
Increase Time Keeping Water Clean
While keeping pools and hot tubs clean may not seem like a way to keep children from danger, it can be vital for decreasing the chance of certain types of illnesses. Dirty pool and spa water can lead to a variety of infections, including diarrhea, pinkeye and neurologic and respiratory illnesses. Parents should be sure to use spa chemicals properly and should choose bromine or chlorine to keep a hot tub sanitary. Choosing to move to a smaller home can be one way that parents can increase the amount of time they have to maintain an indoor or outdoor hot tub.
One of the best ways to teach children about water safety is for parents to model good water habits themselves. Parents should always be careful around water, wear life preservers when in a boat and keep hot tub heat at a safe temperature to decrease drownings. While swimming lessons can certainly help, children are most likely to pick up on parents’ habits rather than on what their teachers are telling them. Parents should be sure to keep their hot tubs or pools protected and should keep a close eye on their children whenever they are at the pool or the beach because only a few seconds of distress can result in a heartbreaking moment.