Lifeguards Warn Parents — This Leads to Kids Drowning

Keep your kids safe in the water with this simple tip.

By: Amanda Mushro
Three children swimming underwater, smiling at the camera.

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Three children swimming underwater, smiling at the camera.

Photo by: Mint Images - Jamel Toppin

Mint Images - Jamel Toppin

Summer is in full swing and if your kids want to spend their summer days at the pool, the beach, or a lake, then you know how a day of fun can quickly turn scary in just a few seconds. We want our kids to enjoy the best parts of summer — playing in the water — but we want to make sure they are safe.

So, what can you do to keep your kids safe around water? According to the world's largest lifeguard association, the easiest and most effective way to ensure your kids are always safe when they swim is for you to put your phone down.

The German Lifeguard Association says parents distracted by their cell phones are a growing problem that continues to contribute to children drowning. "Too few parents and grandparents are heeding the advice: When your children and grandchildren are in the water, put your smartphone away," German Lifeguard Association spokesman Achim Wiese told The Guardian.

According to the CDC, every year in the U.S., nearly 900 children die from unintentional drowning and another 2,600 children are treated in the E.R. from near-drowning. The majority of those drownings take place in backyard pools during the months of June, July, and August.

Experts warn parents that child drownings take only seconds to happen, and if you are on your phone checking an email or sending a text, it could have dire consequences. Since every second counts when a child is drowning, you should always have eyes on your swimmers. Having a phone close by in case of an emergency is important, but lifeguards hope this simple reminder will encourage parents to be more vigilant when their kids are in the water.

While it’s important to make sure your child has taken swim lessons and that everyone in the pool is following safe water rules, having parents or caretakers focused on their kids while they are in the water is the best way to prevent accidental drownings.

Here are a few other ways you can ensure your kids are safe in a pool:

  • Don’t rely on floatation devices or life jackets to keep your kids safe.
  • Be careful of rafts and floats that kids can get stuck underneath.
  • Make sure all pools are secure so when an adult is not around, kids can’t get into the water.
  • Use fences and pool gates year-round.
  • Use pool barriers to distinguish different depths in the pool.
  • Learn CPR for kids and adults.
  • Have a pool "watcher" at all times. This way someone always has eyes on swimmers.
  • Remove pool toys when the pool isn’t in use.
  • When it comes to choosing your child’s swimsuit, colors count. Check out this list of the best and worst colors to choose for your child’s bathing suits.

While talking about drownings can be scary, it’s also a good reminder for parents to put down their phones and to get into the water with their kids. You’ll have more fun and your kids will love splashing around with you. The emails and texts can wait until pool time is over!

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