Keeping Them Safe
Learning to swim is one thing, but experts say we should also be teaching about water safety in schools. "Why teach drowning prevention to kids when it's a parents' responsibility?" Letter asks rhetorically. "Sad but true, many school-age children are asked to supervise siblings in the water when they're not prepared to handle an emergency. Kids think the best way to save someone is to jump in and pull them out, but that puts them at risk for drowning themselves." Instead, teach your child to call out for help first, then lie down on at the side of the pool and extend a life ring, a pole, or a towel to a struggling swimmer. Unfortunately, many pool owners don't always keep safety equipment on deck or take precautions that can help prevent serious accidents. Whether you own a pool or are swimming at a friend's house, your child's safety is your responsibility. "Parents need to build layers of protection. Fences, covers, and alarms all help," says Marcia Kerr, a product-safety investigator at the Consumer Product Safety Commission. "But the first line of defense is you."