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Midday Fix: Water safety tips for children

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Alex Tyler

Goldfish Swim School
goldfishswimschool.com/

Tips:

Any time kids are around water, designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Many children who drown are supervised. Even if there is a life guard on duty, you are responsible for your child.

Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.

Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water.

The American Red Cross says that the number one thing that parents can do to keep kids safer around water is to enroll them in swim lessons. Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.

Invest in latches, fences and sensors if you own a pool. However, although barriers are essential, they do NOT replace supervision. Don’t let your guard down because you think there is no way a toddler could get near the pool.

Work on getting in and out of the pool safely. Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall! Let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help them physically turn back to the wall and then assist them in getting out of the pool by using the following method: Elbow, Elbow, Tummy, Knee! Help your little ones learn how to get out of the pool by manipulating their bodies in this order: elbow, elbow, tummy, knee. Practice this often; you can even do in on your living room floor by having your baby climb onto a couch or chair! After you practice, always remember to celebrate. Eventually, your little one will be strong enough to manage the movement on their own. Do this over and over again as they get more confident let them go under the water and come to the surface on their own.

Help your kids work on their grasp reflex to assist with their ability to get out of the pool. Support them while they crab walk by holding onto the wall and eventually inching their way down.

Assist your baby to practice pulling paddle motions with their arms. This trains both the mind and muscles to perform techniques for later swimming strokes.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:
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

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