Ari Cohen, MD, chief of Pediatric Emergency Medical Services at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, offers parents advice on pool safety.
Tips before you dip
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How can I keep my child safe around a pool?
There is really no substitute for observation of all young children while in any body of water, whether it is a pool, bath tub or ocean. An adult needs to be constantly vigilant when the child is in the water. All pools should be fenced on all four sides without direct access from the house to prevent children from falling into the pool or playing in the water while an adult is not present.
Can a flotation device help my child before they learn how to swim?
There are many safe options available, but they should never be considered a substitute for parental supervision. When choosing a flotation device, make sure that it will not force your child’s face down. This can happen when there is something attached to the swimmer’s back.
Will swim lessons help keep my child safe?
Children should learn to swim, but keep in mind that swim lessons have not been shown to save lives. The key is to be near your child and always watching. Be careful not to let swim lessons give you a false sense of security.
Is there any emergency equipment that I should keep nearby when my child is in the water?
The most important thing to do is prevent an incident. In case of an emergency, it is useful to keep a phone nearby. In addition, CPR skills can help.