Water safety

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Children shouldn't enter any sort of swimming or wading pool, hot tub, spa, or body of water without adult supervision, even if they know how to swim. Never leave a baby alone near water even for the briefest moment, including a tub or open toilet. Most kids are ready for swimming lessons around the age of four or five. Keep in mind that lessons don't guarantee a child's safety. Teach children never to go swimming alone and to swim only in protected areas when a lifeguard is present. Home swimming pools should be fenced on all sides, with the gate latch above a child's reach. There are many other safety precautions to be taken, both regarding swimming pools and other forms of water activities, such as fishing, boating, water skiing, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Children, even those who know how to swim, should always wear life vests in boats. Jet skiing can be dangerous, so be sure to teach children the rules and safety precautions if they use one or if a child's in a body of water where they're being used. Children can learn water safety through courses in scouting, the 'Y,' the Red Cross, or the U-S Power Squadron. They can learn basic safety, as well as survival techniques, drown-proofing, lifesaving, and how to survive in such situations as cold water, strong currents, and broken ice.

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