Summertime Water Safety for Children - Boys will be Boys

Having twin grandsons that celebrated their first birthday last week brings out my natural advocacy tendencies and my pediatric emergency nursing experience too.  The adage boys will be boys gives a new meaning to the toddler development stage!  During this rapid growth of motor and cognitive skills, the brain is exploding with 250,000 neurons added each minute.  They are learning to crawl, reach, walk, talk and bang on toys!  Creating a safe environment and preventing accidents is a challenge even with years of experience. 

Cal and Everett in their new swim gear.  Mommy and Daddy watching constantly.

Cal and Everett in their new swim gear.  Mommy and Daddy watching constantly.


The definition of curiosity is a strong desire to know and learn everything.  As a Nana, it is fascinating to watch them soak up the world for the first time.  At the same time, we take for granted as adults the lake nearby, our baby boomer friends unfenced pool or how much water to put in the bubble bath.  The hard facts are that three children die every day as a result of drowning.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) drowning is the leading cause of death of children from age 1 to 4. 

I will never forget as a pediatric nurse early in my career the resuscitation efforts the emergency room staff took to try and save a 3 year old who was found in a pool.  One of the parents was a police officer.  It can happen to any of us. As parents, grandparents and those who we entrust with our children the following guidelines give us a way to prevent harm to our toddlers on summer water safety.


1. Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  For a class go to:

2. Learn basics of swimming.  Search "swimming lessons for children" in your area, your local YMCA or pool community center. For swimming classes in the Tampa Bay area go to:

3. Install a 4-sided fence around a backyard swimming pool.  Our "smart phone" doesn't make us very smart when we are constantly looking at social media updates and not our children. 


4. Have child life jackets readily available especially around lakes and the ocean.

5.  Designate a WATER WATCHER similar to a designated driver.  Parents need rest and relaxation and can take turns in social situations.  Have the WATER WATCHER put their smart phone away and drink a non-alcoholic beverage.  Keep eyes and ears on the children

Growing up in Florida I remember my swimming lessons at the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables and how much fun I had.  I hope you will teach your children to swim so they can enjoy the wonderful water sport activities, the beautiful aquatic life and respect of the dangers that water can bring.  Be a #waterwatcher today.