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  • Inflatable Armbands Are Not Always Effective for Kids Under 5 Years Old

    Never leave your child unsupervised when you’re near water.
    by Kate Borbon .
Inflatable Armbands Are Not Always Effective for Kids Under 5 Years Old
PHOTO BY iStock
  • It’s summer again! You’re probably already preparing for a fun family trip to a resort or even to the beach. Your baby will definitely want to get wet, but before letting him get into the pool, make sure to keep these helpful safety reminders in mind first. These tips will help guarantee that your trip goes off without a hitch!

    7 tips to keep your baby safe while swimming

    Before your trip to the beach or resort, consider these tips when it comes to your child’s water safety, including making sure that he is wearing the proper life vest, that his skin is entirely covered in sunscreen, and that he is guarded by an adult at all times.

    Invest in proper and effective flotation devices

    More than anything, your child’s safety should be your number one priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children under the age of 5 are highly vulnerable to drowning, which is also the second leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 14.

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    Rather than giving children inflatable armbands, which are not always effective in keeping them from drowning, KidsHealth.org recommends that children younger than 5 years old be equipped with life vests that have a strap between the legs as well as head support that will keep the child’s head up and out of the water.

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    Dress accordingly

    This doesn’t just mean dressing your child in comfy swimwear. It also involves giving your little one a wide-brimmed hat to protect his eyes from the sun rays and even UV-protected sunglasses.

    Children who have not yet been potty-trained need to be dressed in swim diapers. Remember to check your baby’s swim diaper and replace it regularly when it's full. Potty-trained children also need to be constantly taken on bathroom breaks. These simple measures will help reduce the possibility of your child contracting various waterborne illnesses (and of embarrassing poop-related accidents).

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    Bring out the sunblock

    While packing your summer bag, don’t forget to bring lots of sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), sunscreen needs to be applied at least 15 minutes before sun exposure for your child’s skin to absorb it well. The AAD also advises parents to use an amount that is enough to cover all exposed skin, particularly the feet, neck, ears, and top of the head, which tend to be forgotten. Finally, sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours. 

    How much sunblock to use? The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using an amount that is enough to fill a shot glass or plastic medicine cup to cover the exposed areas of the body.

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    Give your child lots of fluids

    KidsHealth.org writes that children can get dehydrated easily under the sun, especially when they are active and sweating. To keep dehydration at bay, make sure your child consumes plenty of fluids. Watch for symptoms of dehydration, such as dizziness, nausea, and lightheadedness. Should this happen to your child, let him drink lots of water, then rest in a cool, shaded area.

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    Check the water temperature

    Just like how parents check the temperature of their babies’ bath water, it is also essential to monitor the temperature of water in a pool before letting their children start swimming in it. Body temperatures drop quicker in water than on land, so if your child swims in a pool where the water is too cold, it might be easier for him to experience hypothermia.

    In general, a temperature between 28 to 30 degrees Celsius is considered comfortable for recreational swimming. If you see your child shivering or suffering muscle cramps while swimming, take him out of the water right away.

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    Never leave your child unattended

    The best way to make sure your child is safe while swimming? Keep an eye on him at all times. Even if your child has taken swimming lessons or knows how to swim, he still needs to be supervised at all times, while he is in or near the water. After all, you know your child and how to care for him best.

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    Teach your child proper pool behavior

    Before your trip, make sure to teach your child proper pool behavior. For one, if he encounters an emergency, he needs to notify a lifeguard or an adult. If you are with other kids, teach them to refrain from running or pushing one another when they are around a pool, to avoid accidentally falling into the water. Another vital lesson to give your child is he should never swim by himself and it is always better to be accompanied by an adult.

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