Recently my wife and I had the pleasure of taking our two sons on a vacation cruise. The boys (ages 6 and 4) especially love cruises because of the swimming pools and water activities onboard. Of course as parents, our priority is to make sure that our children are safe, especially around water. As it turns out, we all witnessed a lesson in water safety practices.
On one particular day during the cruise, I was in charge of supervising the boys while my wife was participating in an activity elsewhere. Our sons were in the children’s pool area where the water is not more than 2 feet deep. A Life guard was also on duty.
As to be expected the pools were crowded, and sounds of play filled the air. Suddenly, though, I heard the piercing sound of the lifeguard blowing her whistle. Not more than a few feet from where my sons were swimming, the lifeguard leapt into the pool and pulled a young boy from the water. He looked to be around the ages of my children. Staff cleared the pool and the life guard began CPR on the child. The boy appeared to be responsive and breathing on his own when they were taken to the ship’s medical bay. It was a close call for that boy and his family.
I will never forget the look on the mother’s face as she came running up to the lifeguard who was administering CPR to her child.
By that time the pool had been cleared and my boys and I were watching a potential tragedy unfold. I remember thinking just how precious life is, and how quickly it can be taken from us.
This incident happened in shallow water less than 2 feet deep, with a life guard actively monitoring the pool! My sons asked me how it could have happened, so I took the opportunity to reinforce the importance of being safe around water and the potential consequences of failing to follow the rules.
Here are some precautions we take in our family;
- My wife and I always designate who is in charge of watching the boys when they are around water. We never leave the kids unattended. We do not rely on lifeguards. We have two children to watch, the lifeguard has too many.
- Life jackets, life jackets, life jackets.
- Teaching the boys to be strong swimmers and to be comfortable and confident in and around the water.
With summer upon us, I thought it would be helpful to add some additional water safety information that can be found at www.safekids.org. Please visit their website for all kinds of helpful information. From their website;
The Hard Fact
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1-4.
Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention.
When there are several adults present and children are swimming, use the Water Watcher card strategy, which designates an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision.
Whether you're swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with an adult. Older, more experienced swimmers should still swim with a partner every time. From the first time your kids swim, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind - and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.
Educate your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and entrapment and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets.
Have fun this summer and be safe !
Kenneth M. Gondek
Crumley Roberts, LLP