Swimming Safety

Dr. Ram, Meriter Middleton

Dr. Ram, Meriter Pediatrics

Summer break is finally here and kids will soon be spending more time in and around water. Swimming is a great way for kids to get exercise and stay cool during the summer, but it is important to swim safely.

Remember to protect children from the sun. Sunburn is a risk factor for skin cancer. In 2003, a total of 45,625 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in the U.S., and 7,818 people died from the disease. Check out Dr. Johnson’s Sun Safety blog (March 22, 2010).

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children ages 1 to 14.

  • Never – even for a moment – leave small children alone while in bathtubs, pools, spas or wading pools, or near standing water. With infants, toddlers and weak swimmers, an adult should be within an arm’s length.
  • If you have a pool, install a four-sided fence. This includes inflatable and above ground pools.
  • Children need to learn to swim. AAP supports swimming lessons for most children 4 years and older. New studies suggest classes may reduce the risk of drowning in younger children aged 1-4 as well.
  • Parents, caregivers and pool owners should learn CPR.
  • Do not use air-filled swimming aids (such as inflatable arm bands) in place of life jackets.
  • Counsel teenagers about the increased risk of drowning when alcohol is involved.

Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated guidelines on water safety and drowning prevention: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/may2410studies.htm#drowning

Learn basic facts about recreational water illnesses.
The number of recreational water-associated outbreaks is increasing with a total of 78 outbreaks affecting 4,412 people reported for 2005-2006. The CDC recommends the following steps to prevent outbreaks:

  • Never let your child swim when they’re not feeling well.
  • Don’t let them swallow pool water.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.

Public and pool users can test water at their local pool or hot tub. Free test strip kits can be ordered at: http://healthypools.org/freeteststrips/

You can check the quality of water at local lakes and beaches at the following sites:
http://www.wibeaches.us/apex/f?p=BEACH:HOME:620813377447211 and http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/

Stay cool!

Dr. Sumita Ram
Meriter Pediatrics
2275 Deming Way, Suite 220
Middleton, WI 53562

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