Supervise, Supervise, Supervise
Swimming, boating, fishing --- water sports are among the favorite activities in the summer. Everyone seems to want to be near the water, or in it, during the summer, Whether at ocean, lake or pool, chances are that you will have to take care of your charges while they are engaged in water sports.
Safety, of course, is a primary concern. Understanding that even toddlers can drown in an inch of water, the challenge for you is to ensure safe usage and respect for the danger without instilling fear.
The top three rules for water safety is supervise, supervise, and supervise. Do not leave your charges unattended, even momentarily. You must be aware, prepare, but do not scare.
All water activities require thorough preparation. You must know CPR in the event of an emergency. Rescue equipment and a telephone should always be readily available. Properly fitted flotation devices such as certified life vests or life jackets should be used by children. Plastic or vinyl blow-up devices are toys, not safety gear. And remember, the ability of the child to swim does not equal water safety.
Pools, especially home pools, pose special challenges to childcare providers. Home pools must have proper fences; fences that are high, self-locking, and able to stop children from getting into the pool area unsupervised. It is the your responsibility to be certain that all drains, pumps, and protective devices are secure and operating properly.
Public pools also require close scrutiny and supervision. You must be certain that lifeguards and safety equipment are available. It is your responsibility to remove your charges from inappropriate play and dangerous activities while in or near the pool.
Beach safety mandates awareness of local conditions. You must know the weather forecast and be alert to sudden or looming changes of weather conditions. You must be alert to hazards, such as jellyfish or manta rays, and understand the meaning of the local flag warning system. Be certain lifeguards are on duty if the kids go into the water. You must know about water quality, rip current,s and other in-water hazards. Sand can get into the kids' eyes and other openings and crevices, so be prepared for it.
Whether in a boat, canoe, or raft, whether on a lake, river, or bay, children must wear a Coast Guard approved safety flotation device. And you must inform your charges of proper behavior while in a water vehicle, and insist on obedience.
All these precautions should become a natural part of summer water safety, allowing the children to enjoy themselves in a safe environment.
Another aspect of water safety is proper hydration. Summer activities will probably cause children to require more liquid. Water is the best drink for kids. No need to force liquids; kids will tell you when they get thirsty. Sports drinks, loaded with sodium and sugar, are not necessary and should not be given to children unless advised to by a medical professional. Drinks that contain caffeine are not appropriate for children, and caffeine can dehydrate children more.
Raise a full glass of water to a safe summer.
Do you get in the water with the children you care for during the summer?