The Fourth of July is filled with cherished memories for many of us—family gatherings, friends, fireworks, and fun at lakes, beaches, and pools. However, it's crucial to address the sobering statistic that 23% of accidental drownings occur during family gatherings near water. Here we will highlight some essential factors to pay attention to this Fourth of July, ensuring the protection of our children from accidental drowning.
What to Focus on For Water Safety At 4th of July Celebrations
Active and Undistracted Supervision:
At gatherings near water, it is vital to recognize the false assumption that "everyone's watching the kids" due to the number of people present. In reality, it is more likely that nobody is providing adequate supervision. To reduce this risk, please always identify a specific, trusted water watcher who can provide active, undistracted supervision for the children. We want to highlight that this role should never be assigned to another child. Highly visible swimwear, rashguards, shirts, shorts, anything, can also help with supervision because it makes it easier to see and quickly spot your child.
Avoid Reliance on Flotation Devices:
While it may be tempting to rely on puddle jumpers or other flotation devices as a safety net and to bring you some relaxation, it's crucial to understand their limitations. Children can remove these devices. USCG approved flotation devices should be used when around open water, especially on watercraft, but do not let the fact that your child is wearing one lead to a false sense of security. This can result in tragic incidents. Thus, direct supervision is always the best approach.
Empower Children with Knowledge - What to Do If You See A Swimmer in Distress
Make sure to engage your children in conversations about appropriate actions when they witness another swimmer in distress. Things to make sure you let them know:
Do not enter the water themselves, even if it's their sibling
Instead, scream for help, attract the attention of adults
Call emergency services if they are capable.
This knowledge empowers children to take the right actions while staying safe and potentially avoid an even more serious situation.
Non-Swimming Child Safety - What Should I Do if My Child Cannot Swim
Maintaining constant supervision is crucial for children who cannot swim. They should always be within arm's reach when around water and should always be held by a parent or caregiver while in the water. Especially at big gatherings with water nearby, proximity to and active supervision of your children are of the utmost importance.
Tips for Implementing the NDPA's 5 Layers of Protection for Fourth of July Celebrations Outside Your Home:
Many of us will attend 4th of July celebrations at someone else’s home, a public park, or another venue. When it comes to water safety, there are things that you should consider when in environments where things are not in your control.
If visiting someone else's home, evaluate the safety barriers surrounding their pool. Ensure the pool is completely enclosed by a fence on all sides, featuring self-closing and self-locking gates. This physical barrier acts as the first line of defense against unauthorized access. If the pool does not have this level of physical barrier protection, please keep that in mind, and ensure you always have your child within arm’s reach.
Phones Down and Constant Supervision:
During holiday celebrations where any body of water is nearby, set a strict policy of keeping phones down and staying attentive. This ensures that the designated water watcher can provide uninterrupted supervision without distractions. Take turns, and when you handoff the water watcher responsibilities, make it a clear handoff so there is no misunderstanding of who is watching the kids.
If your holiday celebrations bring you around open water or on any boat/watercraft, make sure life vests are worn. Properly fitted life vests act as a crucial layer of protection and buoyancy in the event of a fall into the water.
Knowledge of CPR:
While we hope never to encounter an emergency situation, it's essential to be prepared. If you are not trained in CPR, find out if at least one responsible adult present knows how to perform it. Knowing CPR can be a lifesaving skill during a water-related emergency.
In addition to these key points, I highly recommend reading our blog on identifying the signs of drowning. Understanding what drowning actually looks like can help you recognize when someone is in distress and allow you to take immediate action.
From all of us at HiViz Swimwear, have a SAFE, happy, and fun Fourth of July!