SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. — With most public pools closed this summer to the general public, backyard pools are becoming increasingly popular. But how can you keep your kids safe around the water?
According to the World Health Organization, drowning is one of the top 5 causes of death for children under the age of 14, but there are steps parents can take to help keep their kids safe around the water.
One of the most important things you can do is to teach your kid to always ask for permission before entering any type of water, on top of teaching them important life-saving skills like back floating and pushing off the bottom of the pool to reach the water's edge.
If you teach kids the skills to protect themselves and save themselves, that's hugely impactful.
Getting kids comfortable in the water can help them stay calm and parents can start this process with their kids during bath time.
"Getting them comfortable with getting that water in their face. If they are in the bathtub, splash their face, put that cup on top," said Cailee Trudo of the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA. "If they know how to blow bubbles with the bubble stick, then they can blow bubbles in the pool. You can have them blow bubbles in the bathtub, start with their chin, then their lips, then their nose, just blowing those bubbles."
Trudo is the Aquatics Director at the Y and teaches those skills during swimming lessons.
"Teaching them how to control their breath, blow bubbles, roll over onto their back, kick back to the side or push back, teaching them not to be scared if they fall in the water," she said of the skills taught during swim lessons.
The Y has modified their swim lessons this summer during COVID-19, giving parents the chance to participate in the lessons by being in the water with their young children, with the swim instructor walking them through each skill.
One safety skill kids learn is how they can help someone, by using a simple pool toy.
"We teach a thing called 'reach or throw, don't go.' If you have pool noodles or a long stick, you can teach the older kiddos to reach into the pool and pull people back to the side, they don't want to get in the water to save somebody," Trudo said.
Overall, swimming can be an enjoyable and fun activity for everyone, just remember to always stay safe around the water.
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