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Water Safety - Part 4

What to Do in an Emergency

Whenever a child is missing, always check the pool first. Survival depends on a quick rescue and restarting breathing as soon as possible.

If you find a child in the water, immediately get the child out while calling loudly for help. If someone else is available, have them call emergency number. Check to ensure the child's air passages are clear. If the child is not breathing, immediately start CPR as necessary.

Do five cycles of rescue breathing and chest compressions, which takes about 2 minutes. If the child is still not breathing, dial emergency number to get help if someone hasn’t already called. Continue giving CPR.

If the child does start breathing, lay the child on his or her side. (This helps keep the airway open and allows fluids to drain so that the child doesn’t choke.) Also, dial the emergency number and follow any instructions that the emergency operators provide.

If you think the child may have suffered a neck injury, such as with diving, then keep the child on his or her back and brace the neck and shoulders with your hands and forearms, until emergency help arrives. Don’t let the child move. Speak in calm tones to keep the child comforted. Continue to watch for adequate breathing.

Water Safety Tips for Babies

Drowning, although the biggest worry isn’t the only concern when babies are exposed to water. Infants are particularly susceptible to diseases that can be transmitted in water. After introducing an infant to a pool, dry the child’s ears carefully with a towel or cotton ball to help prevent swimmer’s ear (an ear infection that occurs as the result of trapped water in the ear canal). After a dip, wash your baby with a mild soap and shampoo the hair to remove pool chemicals.

Water temperatures below 85° Fahrenheit (29° Celsius) can cause babies to lose heat quickly, putting them at risk for hypothermia (when body temperature falls below normal). Shivering infants or those whose lips are turning blue should be removed from the water immediately, dried, and kept in a towel.

Infants can also spread disease in a pool. The parasite Cryptosporidium, which normally lives in the gastrointestinal tract and is found in feces, can be released into pools by babies with leaky diapers. When swallowed by other swimmers, the parasite can cause severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration.

The safest thing to do is to keep your baby out of public pools until the child is toilet taught.

Water play can be a great source of fun and exercise. You’ll enjoy the water experience more by knowing and practicing these safety precautions.

Source: kidshealth.org