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6/1/11blog post

to water wing or not – another question

From time to time – ok rather often – my friends ask me about various safety concerns. They know I’m not a doctor but they also know that I tend to keep up on “all of that safety stuff.”

I thought a question I received this week was very useful since we’re experiencing very high temperatures and pool season has arrived!

Question: What is the best thing to use for 18-month-old Tommy at the pool this summer? Water wings, vests, etc.

Well my dear friend Maria – here is my answer:

Young children should use a proper-fitting, Coast Guard-approved flotation devices (life vests) and use them whenever a child is near water. Make sure to check the weight and size recommendations on the label, then have your child try it on to make sure it fits snugly. For kids younger than 5 years old, choose a vest with a strap between the legs and head support — the collar will keep the child’s head up and face out of the water.

It’s also a good idea for kids to learn to swim. Kids older than 4 years should learn to swim – just make sure that the course you take is taught by qualified instructors. Younger children older than age 1 also may benefit from swimming lessons, but check with your doctor first.

However, don’t assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning. All kids need to be supervised in the water, no matter what their swimming skill levels. And infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision.”

Remember inflatable vests and arm devices such as water wings are not effective protection against drowning. Pool noodles and other floating toys are just that – toys – and won’t properly protect your child in water.

Remember – children can drown in less than 1 inch of water! In 2010 Dayton Children’s saw 13 near-drownings! It can happen to anyone. So this summer – have a blast in the water but be safe doing so!