Summer water safety

As the temperatures climb into the 90s and above, many of us will be heading out to our favorite swimming spots to cool down. Every warm weekend, however, it seems we hear tragic stories of drowning and other water related incidents. Here are some tips you can use to help protect your kids in the water.

Water Safety at Home:

Remember that for younger kids, water is always a risk. Toddlers are pretty top heavy, and can easily get trapped in buckets, toilets and backyard pools. I have unfortunately seen children who have drowned in each of these things. The best thing to do is make sure children do not have access to standing water, and that they are fully supervised around water.

If you have a swimming pool, kids must be supervised. The American Academy of Pediatrics always recommends full four-sided fencing around any home swimming pool.

Outdoor Water Safety

Supervision is key when children are around water outdoors.

If any child is out on the water, they should always wear a personal flotation device—even if they can swim. This is especially true in rivers, where the currents can do really unpredictable things.

In rivers, also remember to keep kids close to shore because currents can be particularly dangerous.

Be really cautious about jumping into water—especially headfirst. We often overestimate how deep water is, and underestimate how deep we might go during a dive or jump. We see too many serious injuries from people jumping, especially from rocks and other high objects.

Enjoy the weather and the water, but be smart and be safe!

Ben Hoffman, M.D.
Medical Director, OHSU Doernbecher Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Center
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital