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Backyard Water Play Safety

It’s going to be hot this week and we are planning on spending a ton of time outside cooling off with a variety of water toys and enjoying our pool.  Today, I would like to address the importance of backyard water play safety.

Planning our week, we will likely get out the hose and let the kids wash the car, run in the sprinkler, set up a water table, and use the slip and slide, in addition to letting them splash around in the kiddie pool.  And even though we don’t have a bigger pool, being safe around water is still a concern.

Backyard Water Play Safety Rules

  1. Our first rule of water play is to go over the rules, each and every time we play in the water we talk about water safety.

2. Active supervision when children are playing in the water is key.  Babies and toddlers can drown in just one inch of water, so the baby pool, a bucket of water or even a water table can become a drowning hazard.  It is important to keep younger children within arm’s reach of an adult when they are playing in the water.
To reduce the risk of drowning, empty buckets, containers, and pools and store them upside down after use so they don’t collect water and prevent possible drowning (and mosquitos too).

3, Keep your play area free of debris like rocks, sticks and if you have a dog, be sure to clean up after them.

4. Keep your water clean by having children who are not toilet trained use a swim diaper in pools and on the slip and slide.  For the water table, make sure you are dumping and cleaning it out when it seems dirty.  Also, make sure you get all the water out of the toys and allow them to dry properly, otherwise you may end up with mold growing on or in them.  This is especially of concern with the squeeze toys that squirt water.

5. Run the hose before you let the kids play in the water so they are not burned by the hot water.  The water in the hose can get hot quickly, so let it run a bit even if you just used it a few minutes ago to keep your children safe.

6, Be sure to protect your child’s skin with sunscreen, clothing or provide shade for summer play.

7. Enroll your child in formal year-round swimming lessons. The America’s National Institute of Health study concluded that participation in formal swimming lessons, like those offered at Golfish Swim School, was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning for children ages 1 to 4 years (Archives Pediatric Medicine, Vol 163 No 3, March 2009).  Year -round practice during the winter months will keep safety rules and skills fresh in your child’s mind.

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