Every day, people in the U.S die in drowning accidents, some of which involve inflatables. Here’s how to use them properly.
That floating rainbow unicorn innertube looks like just the thing to ignite her soul this summer. But is it the best choice?
According to the Canadian Red Cross, 50 Canadians drowned in a water-related incident while using water toys such as inflatables, pool noodles and recreational rafts in the 20-year span between 1991 and 2010.
In the United States, with a larger population and warmer weather that allows for more swimming outdoors, those numbers soar. There are currently 10 unintentional drowning deaths per day in the U.S. Yes, per day.
Not all of these occur while using pool toys, but it’s paramount that caregivers consider their child’s safety when using them.
What steps can you take? First, take all of your toys out of the pool when you, yourself, get out. Kids are attracted to colorful, fun-looking gadgets floating in the pool, and have been known to fall in reaching for one. Essentially, remove all temptation.
If you’re using inflatables in open water such as on a lake or inlet, secure the inflatable away from a high-traffic boating area. This way the tides, winds and waves won’t take it out to sea, and anyone on it stays within reach.
Also, while it may sound extra picky, your kids will be safer if they only play with their water toys among kids of the same size, experts say. When you mix younger and older kids together it can be a recipe for fun, but also for disaster.
Don’t trust the older ones to watch the younger ones when it comes to water play. Babysitting has its place. Have adult eyes on deck.
Make sure you remove all your sharp edges including jewelry, watches, glasses and shoes before hopping on a water toy, and don’t overload the toy with extra weight. Check the label.
Lastly, look for swimmers trapped underneath water toys, and make sure non-swimmers have a life-jacket on at all times. That being said, life-jackets aren’t a substitution for adult supervision-always have a watcher on deck. The absence of supervision is related to most child fatalities.