Summer has descended on Southern California in a big way! Between the on-going drought and the daily heat index, parents need to pay close attention to all that Summer brings with it. Let's start with water safety. To be as safe as possible we all need to focus on infants, toddlers & small children as they are the ones who are at most risk for drowning. That focus should include:
* Every infant or child needs to be closely watched in and around all pools, hot tubs and at the beach. Drowning is quick and usually silent and experience tells us that these events can occur with parents or other adults close by. Pool parties are fun but when there are many little ones in the pool it is a bigger challenge to keep an eye on everyone!
* All pools are required to have (at least) a 5 foot gate completely surrounding it and have a self-latching closure - taller than any child who might try to enter alone.
* By year one all parents should consider getting basic swimming lessons for them. Please double check with your pediatrician for any further recommendations on this.
* Floatation devices for babies & toddlers need to be properly fitted so they don't "ride-up" onto their face or are too loose which might allow them to slip out. These devices are not foolproof and should not take the place of close observation by parents.
Sun exposure: The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that infants should ideally be in shade and not exposed to UV rays. If sun exposure is unavoidable, limit it to the face, back of hands and tops of feet. The SPF should have a 30-50 coverage and the product should be "baby safe." Please be aware of the temperature of the concrete or, if at the beach, the sand as it can burn little feet. If a burn occurs, quickly run cold tap water over the area for at least 2 minutes. Pediatric burns to the face, hands or feet can be very serious and may need to be seen in the E.R.
Be prepared for an emergency in the water!
Even though we practice these safety measures there is still a chance that a little one could drown. If you are present in this type of emergency it is critical that we act quickly. If alone with this baby or child, start CPR immediately - for at least 2 minutes - before calling 911. If others are present, start CPR and make sure that someone else is making that 9-1-1 call. Lives can be saved if we act quickly.
Let's make sure that our Summer fun is safe and enjoyable.
Richard Pass RN, B.S., Founder Save A Little Life