Keeping your Kids Safe while Swimming

An emergency medicine physician offers advice on how to keep your kids safe while swimming this summer.

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CLEVELAND – Kids are finally out of school, and that means a lot of parents will be taking their little ones to the pool this summer to go swimming. But, before they jump in, there are some safety tips to keep in mind.

“Always make sure that your children, if they are young swimmers or early swimmers, have an adult in arms-length by them, in the pool. If they are good swimmers and older swimmers and don’t need that kind of help, they still need one designated person watching them at all given times,” advised Purva Grover, MD, emergency medicine physician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Grover said one of the reasons she recommends having one designated adult per child is because lifeguards are busy watching multiple people, so it could be easy for them to missing something.

She also notes that drownings aren’t as dramatic as some might think. A child could quickly slip under the water without anyone noticing.

Dr. Grover said this same advice applies at private pools as well. An accident can happen anywhere, at any time.

She recommends in busy pools having your kids dress in bright-colored swimsuits so they stand out. And if they use flotation devices, make sure they are Coast Guard approved.

Finally, if you don’t know how to perform CPR, make sure to learn.

“We need to make sure that if a submersion or a drowning happens and there is a terrible accident, that there is somebody who can start CPR right away. CPR on site has shown to be, over the years, proven scientifically to have a much better outcome when these kids come to the emergency department than kids who did not receive CPR at site, or good adequate CPR,” said Dr. Grover.

She said taking frequent breaks while swimming is also important, as is staying hydrated and regularly applying sunscreen.

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