Supervise children while swimming

Sunday, July 10, 2005

NEW YORK -- Swimming lessons, life jackets and lifeguards are not substitutes for parents when children are in the water. Key Club International, a Kiwanis-sponsored organization, is spreading the word about water safety this summer.

Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 14, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keeping children safe should be a partnership between parents and their kids, according to Key Club.

Parents shouldn't rely on inflatable toys as safety devices. Also, they should make sure children take all their toys with them when they get out of the water -- they're much more likely to go back in unsupervised to retrieve something.

If you own a pool, be sure it is surrounded on all sides by a 5-foot fence that prevents kids from going over, under or through it.

Parents should learn CPR, first aid and know how to swim.

Children should wear a life jacket if they go into the water if they don't know how to swim, and, of course, only do so with supervision.

Running around the pool, jumping and splashing wildly should be banned, and children have to know that these rules must be obeyed.

Key Clubs all over the world are educational programs that demonstrate to children the importance of being safe when swimming by offering informational books and coordinating activities such as water safety board games and free swimming lessons.

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