Water Safety Rules
It is tragic to note that most adults with autism and children are prone to drowning accidents that happen in residential and public places. The reason behind it is that people in that spectrum are often drawn to water. Regardless of the amount of water, once a child gets under water unmonitored and fail to come out he or she can drown. Massive water bodies have a higher risk of drowning than water with as little as four inches.
Why is it important to be safe in the water?
It’s very important to be safe in water because it will help save lives. Here is a look at some of the ways of staying safe in water and reasons why you need to ensure that adults with autism and children are kept safe whenever they are in the water.
It’s important to expose your child to water safety precautions at an early age so as to enable him or her to be comfortable around water. You can use visuals like social stories or cards to teach your child the rules of swimming safely without endangering his or her life while in water. If your child has a special interest in water, it’s even more critical to make certain that the child has been taught about all water safety rules in good time.
You can also sign up for swim lessons so that your child can get expert advice on how to be safe around water, especially if you’re too busy with work errands or don’t have comprehensive knowledge about all swimming rules and skills. There are various organizations that customize specific swim lessons for children with special needs. Swim lessons are very important because they not only teach a child how to swim but also equip him or her with knowledge on how to stay safe in or around water. You can also utilize online tutorials to learn more about how to be safe in water before you start teaching your child.
Emphasize the dangers of water
Being safe in water is more than just knowing how to swim. Making sure that children and people with autism understand the significance of observing water safety rules whenever they are around water is a very critical component. Interestingly, some people with autism and children are good swimmers because they learned how to do it safely, but their attraction to water may lead them to swim in unsafe pools or rivers with dangerous conditions like extreme temperatures and strong currents. Make certain that such individuals understand all the dangers associated with water.
Monitor them to avoid wandering
Take various safety precautions to ensure that the child or person with autism doesn’t wander away while in water. Precautions like making sure the gate to the pool in your compound or near is closed at all times are very crucial. When near water, avoid leaving your child unaccompanied.
Spread the word
Although it may seem like unnecessary, it’s better to alert your neighbors about your child’s tendency to wander away and the attraction to water. You can even go an extra mile and use a flyer, especially if you know that you’re not around most of the time to look after your child.
How long does it take for a child to drown?
The margin between life and death can be so fleeting. Most toddlers, especially those who haven’t been taught about the dangers of water or who have never experienced people drown don’t have any fear even for large masses of water. If such a child gets into water unsupervised or accidentally trips into a pool in the backyard of his or her home, it will only take twenty seconds to drown. Although adults may take a bit longer, children will succumb fast to the suffocation because most of them don’t have the capacity to avoid drowning so quickly.
What are some of the safe swimming rules?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most of the accidental deaths of American kids are caused by drowning. Some of these deaths that occur in natural water bodies and residential pools can be prevented if certain swimming rules are followed to the letter. Some of the easy to follow swimming rules include:
Learn how to swim.
Children who are four-years-old and above should be taught how to swim. Adults who don’t know how to swim should restrict kids from wading or bathing in shallow waters without the presence of a lifeguard. It’s important for parents, guardians, and caregivers to learn basic swimming rules so that they can be better positioned to impart the same knowledge to children.
You should never allow your children to swim anywhere under no supervision. Drowning can happen very quickly even in water that is as little as two inches. The CDC reports that most of the children aged below four-years-old drown just less than five minutes after disappearing from the house. Adults who have the responsibility of taking care of children should avoid being distracted even for one minute while taking care of the children. Very small distractions such as being engrossed in an interesting movie, cooking, reading, or playing a video game can be life-threatening when there is an un-gated pool in nearby.
Use a lifeguard
Swimming should only be allowed when there is a lifeguard. It’s vital to be extra careful to supervise your children closely even when there is a lifeguard. Being safe in water is a very sensitive issue for children and should be regarded so at all times. Swimmers ought to respect all the swimming rules and instructions of a lifeguard.
Avoid swimming under influence of drugs or alcohol
Even professional swimmers or experienced lifeguards can succumb to the effects of drugs when in water. Therefore, allowing children or adults to swim when under influence of certain drugs or alcohol is prohibited and very dangerous. The drugs or alcohol will impair judgment and coordination, increasing the potential risk of drowning or sustaining injuries while in water.
Avoid swimming alone
Although catching some time alone in the pool or lake may be tempting and thrilling, it’s risky to develop a tendency of swimming alone or allowing kids to swim alone without the supervision of an adult. Accidents can happen anytime even to the strong and young swimmers. It’s better to be cautious and invite over a close friend or family member to swim with. In other water bodies, it’s better to swim under the supervision or assistance of a lifeguard.
Avoid swimming during thunderstorms
Never swim when there is a potential danger like thunderstorms. If a lifeguard instructs to leave the pool because of thunderstorms, you ought to obey. You should exit the water whenever you hear a thunder! Lightning strikes water and since water can conduct electricity you may get badly injured or even die when it strikes.
Avoid diving headfirst
Most people have the tendency of diving headfirst. Diving headfirst into the shallow water, water that has an uncertain depth is extremely dangerous. Murky natural water bodies that have unknown depths or environments such as lakes or quarries can be life-threatening. The rocks or other foreign objects in the water can pose a serious hazard to the life of the swimmer. It’s always advisable to enter the water with your feet first, especially if you don’t know the depth of the water before diving.
Avoid horseplay in water
Horse playing in the water with close friends or family members can be so thrilling and fun. However, it can also turn tragic if you allow people to dunk or hang on you while in the water. Playing certain games in water can cause an injury that may lead to drowning.
Use flotation devices
You should use proper flotation devices whenever you take kids to swimming. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents, caregivers, and guardians to avoid using inflatable toys, air mattresses and water wings as optional flotation devices. Instead, they should use the proper flotation gear such as life jackets and life preservers that have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. It’s important to wear a life jacket that has been approved when one is boating or swimming close to land.
Use First Aid, pool fences and learn CPR
It’s good for parents and caregivers to learn the basic CPR and first aid skills. Having the right tips and skills can make the difference between life and death in case of a drowning accident. This is very important for families with residential pools in their compounds or in the neighborhoods. According to the CDC’s recommendations of a perfect fence for a residential pool is supposed to be over 4 feet tall, be self-closing, have self-latching gates that can’t be reached by children and be able to open outwards.
Always make certain that there are a reliable means of communication nearby when children are using the pool or spa. This is very important for contacting the emergency ambulance services in case of any critical injuries at the poolside.