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Water Safety for Kids
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Keep It Dry
Because young kids are both curious and top-heavy, make sure there's nothing in your yard that can accumulate water and they can fall into; little ones can drown in just one inch. Empty kiddie pools, buckets, or any containers and store indoors, and upside down, after each use, recommends Meri-K Appy of Safe Kids USA.
Backyard Pool Alert
Prevent a tragedy by installing a four-foot-high fence (that can't be climbed) with a self-closing and self-latching gate (latches should be out of kids' reach). Pump shut-off devices and anti-entrapment drain covers are a must, and a pool alarm is a good idea, too.
- Darren Barker / Veer
Enroll the Kids in (Swim) School
Recent studies suggest that children as young as 1 may be less likely to drown after taking swim classes. Of course, not every kid will be ready to swim at this age, so the AAP recommends that parents consider their child's physical development, emotional readiness, and frequency of exposure to water (outside of the bath) before signing up.
Be Your Own Lifeguard
If you're taking your kids to the pool, lake, or beach, you're automatically on duty. Going in a group? Assign each parent a 20-minute time slot to keep watch, recommends Appy. If you're the only adult, keep your eyes on the kids at all times, and consider it off-limits to read a book or magazine—even if there's a lifeguard on duty. For more peace of mind, take a class to get certified in first aid and CPR. Certification usually takes just one afternoon. Go to redcross.org to find classes near you.
Get the Right Life Jacket
Life jackets are a must on boats, as well as near water for young children who lack swimming skills. Water wings and blow-up tubes don't provide enough protection and won't keep your kid upright, says Appy. Select a life jacket that's “Type II” U.S. Coast Guard—approved, and make sure it fits your child properly.
- Jon Whittle
Tattoos That Keep Tabs
Beaches, water parks, and pools can get pretty crowded, making it easy for kids to get lost. Dress yours in distinctive patterns so you can spot them. For kids who aren't old enough to know their phone number, use a product like SafetyTat (shown), a temporary tattoo (lasts one to five days) that's placed on a child's hand or arm and displays your phone number. 30 tats for $20; safetytat.com