Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Water Safety

Here are some tips for Foster Parents but I'm sure that anyone who goes to the beach or pool this summer could benefit from reading these safety guidelines.

Supervision Requirements
  • Adult supervision is required at all times when foster children are swimming or near any body of water (lake, stream, hot tub, bathtub, water slides, etc.)
  • The adult supervising the foster children swimming must know how to swim, have current water safety training and First Aid/CPR.
  • Foster children should never be left alone near a body of water, even for a moment.
  • Children who know how to swim or who have had swimming lessons are not “drown proof”; adult supervision is always required.
  • All children must be taught water safety rules and Foster Parents are expected to strongly enforce them.
  • Air filled toys and swimming aids (wings) can give a false sense of safety, and are not a substitute for close supervision.
  • Close adult supervision is required when children are using inflatable water “slides”; as water accumulated at the base can pose a drowning threat, in addition to the risk of injury.  Inflatable water slides must be deflated after each use.
Pool Specific Water Safety
  • For Foster Families who have a pool, rescue equipment ( life preserver and/or shepherd’s hook), and a phone should always be near the pool in the event of an emergency.
  • Remove toys from in and around the pool when it is not in use.  Toys can attract young children to the pool.
  • Never prop open the gate to the fence surrounding the pool; always secure gate after use to prevent children from entering without an adult.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first.  Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the pool area.
  • If a temporary inflatable swimming pool is being used, it must be drained after each use, unless it is fenced.
Water Activities
  • Foster children should always use a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (life jacket) when boating, fishing, or playing in a river or stream or when at risk for falling into a body of water (such as near a river bank).
  • Foster Parents must know the depth of water and any underwater safety hazards, prior to a foster child jumping or diving into the water.  Foster children should enter the water the first time feet first.
Water Safety for Infants-5 years
  • For young children, (5 & under) the Foster Parents providing supervision should be within arm’s length of the child. In order words, “Reach Supervision” should be used when young children are around any type of water including but not limited to; bathtubs, pools, wading pools, hot tubs, toilets, buckets, lakes, streams, wells, irrigation/drainage ditches or other standing water
  • Infant bath seats or supporting rings are not a substitute for adult supervision.
Health Related Water Safety
  • For children with seizure disorders or other related health conditions, close adult supervision is required when children are taking a bath or swimming.  For situations when a child cannot be supervised directly by an adult such as due to privacy issues, showers are recommended over baths.

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