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Tips for keeping your children safe – Part 2 – Water Safety

As you are likely aware by now, I am a father of two young, energetic boys and I know that children are curious, agile and faster than you could ever imagine. With no sense of consequence, everything is fun and games, dangerous or not.

Sadly this has resulted in me attending several crime and/or incident scenes involving children. Some were sad accidents, but when it comes to open water, you must know that those are completely avoidable.

My strategy is to identify danger from the ground up. Peril number one is water.

Parents, guardians and carers need to be aware that ANY open water is a danger to a child who is unable to swim. Whether it’s a bucket of water, a dog bowl or a swimming pool, it only takes 2 inches of water for a child to drown in – and don’t kid yourself, a toddler can drown in the bath. It only takes a second for them to fall into a bath headfirst, or slip under and struggle to come back up for air.

You cannot rely on your domestic worker or mother in law to have a 24 hour visual on your child. Drowning takes less than 30 seconds. Also, never assume that any care giver or person on your property can swim, or expect them to be on the lookout and at the ready to dive in and save your drowning child. 

Any body of water, whether it be a fish pond or swimming pool must be properly fenced in and inaccessible to little human beings.

Water wings and floatation devices are great when the little one is supervised, but drowning may still occur if the child is left unattended.

If you are the parent of a child who cannot swim, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is the person looking after your child aware of these dangers? 
  2. Is your swimming pool, fish pond or any other open body of water on your property, fenced in? 
  3. Who’s looking after your youngster at the braai?  
  4. Where is the pool and is it fenced in? 
  5. 7Is the child being attended to while the bath is running and while they are in the bath?

Start today, by doing a proper check around the bodies of water on your property. Discuss bath time routines and safety tips with your spouse or caregivers who assist your children with bath time. Small common sense adjustments can ensure your child’s safety and prevent an unnecessary tragedy.