Water Safety Begins at an Early Age Sarah Macke August 14, 2014 Articles Cooling off and having summer fun happens simultaneously when there’s water involved. Unfortunately, the good times can quickly turn to tragedy unless a few water safety precautions are taken by parents with children as young as six months. In the United States, approximately 3,533 people drown each year and most are children under the age of four who drown in backyard swimming pools. The U.S. Swim School Association (USSSA), the preeminent swim school organization in the country, has compiled the following life-saving water safety and swim instruction tips. Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Tips • Start swim lessons at 6 months of age and continue them year-round. • Create a process the child must go through before entering a pool such as putting on a swim diaper and a swimsuit and applying sunscreen. Never allow your baby/toddler in the pool without a swim diaper. • Create a verbal cue for your toddler or child that must be given by you before he or she can enter the pool • Never use flotation devices or water wings when swimming or when teaching kids to swim. • Teach children to swim without goggles and to open their eyes under water; if they fall in they can find the side of the pool or a step and exit safely. • Build comfort with water by having a very young child practice putting her/his face under water in the bathtub and blowing bubbles. • Create a water safety plan for your family and have water emergency drills with your kids including how to recognize the signs of someone struggling in water and what to do in this type of emergency. • Make sure all guests know your pool rules before they go outside and enter the pool. • Always make sure your children wear life jackets on boats, personal watercraft and in open bodies of water. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org . .