By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
As the end of the school year approaches, the excitement of summer is in the air! From May through September, fun family gatherings bring together children for various activities including camping, cookouts, and of course swimming. When the weather gets hot, the perfect place to cool off is a pool, lake or stream.
Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among 1 to 4 year olds according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Many of these drowning deaths and water-related injuries are highest in the warm weather months. On average, 4,900 children ages 15 & under are treated for water-related injuries in hospital’s emergency departments each year.
With May serving as National Water Safety Month, this is the perfect time to talk with your children about water safety and establish rules for their personal safety in or around water. Here are some tips for your family to keep cool in the pool this summer:
- Actively supervise children whenever around water. Stay within an arm’s reach of young children while in the water and avoid distractions.
- Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim.
- Never swim alone – always have a buddy!
- Use properly-fitted personal flotation devices. Always wear life vests when boating.
- Obey signs about rules and potential dangers.
- Enter the water feet first (one foot at a time) and never dive into shallow water.
- Ensure farm ponds are fenced and barriers are in place around home pools or hot tubs.
- Have rescue equipment by the water. If you have a friend out in the water – remember to Reach, Throw, Don’t Go into the water, but Go for Help!
Last year, water safety was a lesson offered at 40% of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® that took place throughout North America. Hands-on activities designed to reinforce water safety is taught using verbal, visual and hands-on learning opportunities. These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Safety Day. To date, more than 1.4 million children & adults have been impacted by a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their local community. Learn more about the program at www.progressiveag.org
Photo: At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held in Illinois last year, participants learn the importance of properly-fitted personal flotation devices. Through a hands-on water safety activity, participants try on life vests and discuss how they are used properly, they can potentially save their life while in water.