School-aged - Water Safety Tips

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While swimming and aquatic activities are certainly great fun as well as healthy endeavors for school aged children, parents should take care to prevent needless water related accidents.

First: Never let children, even of this age, into water with an adult watching out for their safety.

Second: Prior to participation, take care to provide qualified instruction to children regarding swimming, as well as other aquatic activities such as boating, sailing, scuba, snorkeling, water-skiing, jet skiing, and so on.  Training in safety procedures and proper handling of themselves in, on and around water is essential.

Third: Many of the drowning and water related injuries for children in this age group occur in natural bodies of water - from canals and ditches upwards to ponds, streams, rivers, and finally oceans.  A school-aged child's safety around these bodies of water is still in the hands of parents and other supervising care-givers.

Rules for Schoolaged Water Safety

Teach your child about water safety to avoid injury.  And then supervise to make sure rules are obeyed:
Never enter any body of water without adult supervision
Never dive into water unless given the okay by an adult who knows the depth of the water.  If you can see the bottom, don't dive or jump in - ease in feet first.
At backyard pool parties: adult supervisors must first inform children of the water safety rules to prevent all to common injuries (e.g. 'tag' is to be played while remaining IN the pool, no running on the pool deck, no pushing or pretending to push another child into the pool, no diving into the backyard pool, no jumping onto flotation devices (inflatable rafts, intertubes, foam mats, etc. or onto people in the pool, no holding another person under water, and we only call for help when it truly is an emergency).  Issuing 'time out of the pool' or banishment for a longer period are effective and necessary adult policing actions for improper safety behavior by schoolaged children.    
Always use a life jacket when boating, water-skiing, jet-skiing, etc. on a natural body of water.  
Swim only in supervised recreational swimming areas away from boats and other aquatic craft. 
Never swim during approaching or overhead electrical storms.
Floating toys and other recreational equipment should be used only under adult supervision, only in shallow water where the child can stand if a non-swimmer.

Use of Life jackets and Life Preservers

The use of life jackets and life preservers, by non-swimmers and swimmers alike, is required in many states and is ALWAYS in the safety interests of the child and parent.

Use only life jackets that have been tested by Underwriters Laboratory (UL), that are approved by the US Coast Guard and are labeled as such.

Select a properly sized jacket
Show your child how to put on and wear the life jacket
Wear the life jacket at all times