Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among infants, toddlers and young children so Child Care Regulation wants to remind you of the importance of watching children around water.
You have a vital role in preventing future tragedies. With Labor Day nearing, many children will be participating in outdoor water activities. If your operation is going to participate in water activities, on-site or off-site, it is critical caregivers understand the risk associated with these activities. Drowning is silent. Caregivers have to stay alert to the children in their care with constant, active supervision. Never leave children alone around water! This includes tubs, pools, wading pools, drainage ditches, creeks, ponds or lakes.
The best water safety assurance comes from adopting and consistently practicing as many water safety measures as possible. Review your safety plan to prevent access to bodies of water, especially on-site swimming pools. Safety plans can address door locks, door alarms, pool fences, self-closing and self-latching hardware, and emergency procedures. All caregivers should know their operation’s safety plan and practice it regularly.
Child-placing agencies should also share this information with their foster parents.
- Constantly watch children who are playing in shallow water or swimming.
- Prohibit children’s direct access to swimming pools. Use fences, self-closing and latching gates. Ensure children cannot leave the house through pet doors or unlocked doors to access pools or hot tubs.
- Store water toys away from the water source when not in use so they don’t attract children.
- Child/caregiver ratios for water activities are determined by the age of the youngest child in the group.
- Plan for emergencies. Keep emergency phone numbers accessible and stay current in CPR and first-aid training.
- Weak and non-swimmers should wear only U.S. Coast Guard -approved life jackets/personal flotation devices.
- Take Free Water Safety Training offered by Colin’s Hope.