Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys
Food For Thought
How to Have a Water-Safe Summer
The largest cause of death for children under the age of 5 is drowning. Often times, parents think they are too busy for swim lessons, or they can do it themselves, or that floaties will work. Even scarier, parents assume that if they don't have a safety gate around the pool that they will hear the door opening and will know when their child falls into the pool. In order to have a safe, fun summer, parents should consider the following steps to insure their child's safety.
- Get swim lessons. Your child needs to be water-safe. If you are in a divorce situation and the other parent will not agree to lessons on their time, try to set up something on your time.
- If you have a pool, make sure it is safety gated. Be sure there is an alarm on the sliding door so that you are alerted if your child opens the door to go outside.
- When you are in a group of families, do not assume that 'someone' will watch your child. Keep your eyes on your child yourself. If you decide to step away, either ask your child to get out of the pool or specifically ask another parent who is watchful to keep an eye out for your child.
- If you have teens, emphasize the importance of avoiding diving incidents that occur when the diver misjudges where the pool goes from shallow to deep. Many teens break their necks when they misjudge diving depths.
- Emphasize to your college age teen the importance of not trying to jump off a balcony into a pool. The depth of the pool, the speed and distance of the jump are not easily calculated, even more difficult if your young adult is drinking. Breaking their neck alters their life much more than peer pressure to do something that is harmful.
When your child is water-safe and knows common sense rules about swimming, you can send them to parties with a lot more confidence. Plus your child will not have to worry about accidentally falling into the pool, or having to wear floaties when all of their friends can already swim. Until your child is water-safe you need to be available to watch them at pool parties. The parent giving the party cannot possible keep an eye on your kid and assess their swimming level. Kids are often embarrassed and my not tell them that they can't swim at all.
If you plan ahead, this can be a memorable summer that your entire family enjoys.
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
Psychologist License PSY7828, California213 E City Place Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92705