Water safety report makes a splash

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May 19, 2017
Kids in the pool

Going to the beach or jumping into the pool is a long-awaited summertime activity for kids and families. But with all the eagerness and excitement to dive in, water safety might be an afterthought. This month’s Mott Poll report looked at parents’ reports about their child’s swimming ability and rules for water supervision. Here’s a recap of what media outlets across the country have been saying about this report.

Supervision decision

When it comes to looking after kids in the water, parents have varying opinions based on the location. This was the focus of a HealthDay piece: Many parents underestimate drowning risks. Over one-third of parents (37%) would allow their child to use a backyard, hotel or neighborhood pool without adult supervision. “Familiar places such as a backyard pool may provide a false sense of security, but we know that drowning can occur anywhere,” says Mott Poll co-director and pediatrician Dr. Gary Freed. He suggests parents keep a close eye on kids at all times, regardless of their child’s swimming ability.

Racial differences in swimming lessons

If a child is unable to swim independently, swimming lessons are a great way to improve their skills. But for some families, there are barriers to having children take lessons. This was highlighted in a UPI article  – Poll: More than one-third of parents let children swim unsupervised. “Swimming lessons and proper supervision are critical to making sure kids are safe around the water,” Dr. Freed says. There were racial differences among parents reporting whether their child has taken swimming lessons, with 55% of White parents, 39% of Hispanic parents, and 37% of Black parents reporting their child has taken lessons. Cost, availability, and convenience were some of the reasons parents did not have children take swimming lessons.

Tips for staying safe

What else can parents do to keep their kids safe in the water? Here are some tips for parents and kids to make sure safety is a priority from a Michigan health blog post: 6 pool safety rules parents and kids should know before diving in. Bethany Folsom, a health educator at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, advises making sure kids understand and obey pool rules, having adults watch for silent drowning, and keeping pool areas secured with a fence and lockable gate. Folsom also stresses the importance of supervision. “As a mom and a safety advocate, I say the more eyes on the water the better.”

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