CHILD SAFETY AT THE WATER
I would like to place special emphasis on the safety of children near water bodies. After all, this is one of the most favorite places for recreation and entertainment for children in the summer. But children should not be near the water without adults. This rule must be strictly observed by both children and adults. And it is the parents who are obliged to talk to the children about everything that can happen, warn about the danger and explain the consequences. Children, going to a pond without adults, do not fully realize that they are risking their lives. And parents also do not always think about the consequences. But it’s enough to answer a simple question for yourself: “And if my child starts to drown, who will save him? Children sometimes behave too carelessly, self-confidently, run and play around the water, not feeling any danger.
The main rule for parents is only one: do not let the child go to the beach alone and do not lose sight of him when he swims. If you can’t go by yourself – ask relatives, friends, neighbors. Do not rely on the fact that the child is already big or swims well. Choose an equipped beach – lifeguards are on duty there.
Being with children near the water vigilance should not be lost even for a minute!
Parents need to understand three main DON’Ts for themselves:
- Swim on air mattresses
Rescuers do not recommend swimming on an air mattress to anyone, especially children. Do not allow children to use car tires, foam, boards for swimming. The most reliable is a life jacket that fits snugly against the body so that the child cannot slip out. Moreover, a child needs to wear a vest, even if he swims near the shore and his legs reach the bottom. Sleeves can be worn if the child swims more or less normally and can float on the water himself. Fasten them on the widest part of the arm – above the elbow. Before letting the children into the water, check that everything is holding up well, that all valves are closed. If there are loose straps or ropes, it is better to fasten them to the belt so that they do not interfere with swimming and do not restrict movement. But the presence of a vest on a child is still no reason to leave him unattended. A high wave, careless movements – and the child can choke.
- Swim at great depths
It is better for the little ones to splash around the shore – where the water reaches them up to the knee. It is better not to let older children go where the water rises above the middle of the chest. Children over 12 years old can swim a little further, but they can only be allowed to swim at a depth of up to two meters if they are good swimmers. Teach your child to stay on the water, lying on his back – so he can rest when he gets tired of swimming.
- Play on the water
It is best if the child plays on the water with adults – this is the only way to be completely sure of his safety. After all, sometimes even a harmless ball game can be very risky. The ball can carry away far from the shore, to the depths, and the child will not notice how it will end up there in pursuit of it. If you are not participating in games, make sure that the child is within your sight.
Children love to play in the water, grab each other’s legs and arms, “drown”. Games like this should be banned. It is necessary to explain to the child that you cannot jokingly scream that you are drowning, “pretend” to ask for help – if something really happens, adults may not pay attention to screams.
Signs that a child is drowning:
- The head is under water. The mouth then goes under water, then appears on the surface.
- The body is in the water vertically, the child does not support himself with the movements of his legs, he moves like a float.
- Breathing fast and gasping for air.
- Eyes closed or glassy, unable to focus.
- Hair hangs over the eyes, forehead, the child does not try to remove it.
It is quite difficult to determine 100% that a child is drowning. Therefore, noticing some warning signs, call him – if he can answer you coherently, wave his hand, then everything is in order. If there is no answer, you have a few minutes to save him.
… If a child is drowning before your eyes
What to do if you see trouble, but you yourself swim poorly or don’t know how at all? The main thing is to try to pull yourself together, the alarmist rescuer is a bad helper. If there are no lifeguards on the beach, look around, maybe there are people nearby who can help. Do not be afraid if there was no one, the main thing is to act competently and consistently.
- Is the child close to the shore? Look around for an object that you can reach out to him and pull out onto land – this could be a stick, a towel or a T-shirt.
- If you need to swim up to a drowning person, take off your outer clothing and shoes, turn out your pockets so that water does not get into them.
- Take with you an object that the baby can grab on to – again, this can be a towel, a twisted T-shirt or a rope. It is desirable to swim freestyle, so you will get there faster.
- Swim up to a distance of a meter, throw a circle or rope to the child and shout for him to grab. Swim back, looking back every 5 to 10 seconds to make sure the child is holding on.
- It is important not to let the child grab you: in a state of panic, he can drag you under water or prevent you from quickly getting ashore.
- It may happen that the child will not be able to grasp the rope. Then swim up to him from behind and grab him under the armpits. Turn your baby face up so he can breathe. You can swim on your back with your baby on your stomach. Hold it with one hand, row with the other.
- Did the child go under water? Dive and search the bottom. Having found the baby, grab him by the arm, hair or under the armpits and emerge, strongly pushing off the bottom.
… If he swallowed water
Call an ambulance immediately. While help is on the way, check if the child is breathing freely – if water gets into the airways, he will have noisy breathing with sobs that can be heard with his ear to his chest. Make sure your mouth is free of pebbles, algae and sand: run your finger all over the mouth, checking between the gums, teeth and lips. Before doing this, it is better to wrap your hand with a clean cloth, but if this is not possible, just wash your hand with clean water.
To help the child cough, turn him back to you, hug with one hand, slightly pressing on the stomach area, and with the other, tilt forward and lightly pat between the shoulder blades. If he has been under water for a long time, put the baby on your knees face down, pressing a little on the stomach – the water should flow out.
If the child is unconscious, and the ambulance still does not go, you can give him artificial respiration and chest compressions. Rescuers do not recommend doing this if you are not confident in your abilities and are saving an unfamiliar child: he may have problems with his spine, and with inept heart massage, you can harm him. In this case, it is better to wait for the ambulance. While waiting, remove wet clothes from the child, put him in a warm, dry place and wrap him in blankets, towels – whatever is at hand.