Coast KZN

30 May 2021

Always keep water safety in mind, no matter the season

Caxton reporter (Southlands Sun) Picture: Always keep an eye on your child when she’s near water.

Did you know that, according to Swim Alive, three children drown in South Africa every day? It only takes a couple of seconds for a child to drown, and not much water is needed.

Even though the weather is chilly and swimming in pools, rivers, and oceans may not sound that appealing, it’s always important to practice water safety. Here’s how to keep your family safe:

Top water safety tips

Holidays – yes, even those in June/July – often go hand-in-hand with swimming. Always keep an eye on your child when she’s near water. It takes only two minutes for a child to drown.

Spa baths and Jacuzzis aren’t safe for children, because littlies can’t support themselves in the swirling water. Keep these covered and locked.

Never let your child swim alone, even if she’s wearing armbands or a flotation tube.

When swimming in the ocean, hold your child’s hand at all times and make sure your feet and hers can touch the ocean floor at all times.

Although much fun can be had, don’t let your child drift in the ocean on an inflatable Lilo or board, as the current can quickly drag her out to sea.

Teach your child never to dive into the water, but to jump in feet first. If it’s an unfamiliar pool, it could be too shallow to dive into, which can result in serious injuries.

Make sure that swimming pools are properly fenced off or have a pool net over them.

Take note of water safety notices. Swim between water flags and in an area where there are lifeguards.

If you and your family go out on a boat, make sure everyone wears approved life jackets.

If you’re caught in a current in a lagoon, ocean, or river, don’t try to swim against the current; swim across the current to gradually get out of it.

If there are any warning flags posted on the beach due to unusually high water levels, or if water conditions are hazardous, don’t let your children swim in that area.

Don’t swim near a river mouth and avoid going into the sea at dawn or dusk, as shark attacks are more likely to happen during these times.

Supervise your child at a public pool or beach, even if there are lifeguards on duty. They aren’t there to babysit your children.

Teach your children not to run near swimming pools; they could slip and get injured.

Always remove the cover completely from a pool before swimming. Partially covered pools are dangerous.