According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accident-related death in children ages one to fourteen. This shocking statistic illustrates the need for families to practice ongoing water safety for kids. In addition to parental supervision and the implementation of water safety rules and habits, kids’ water safety gear can help prevent accidents from occurring. While this gear can be life-saving, it is important for parents and caregivers to understand that water-related accidents can still occur despite the use of kids’ water safety gear.
Personal Flotation Devices
Personal flotation devices come in several shapes and sizes. When selecting personal flotation devices for kids, it is important to make sure that they fit snugly and comfortably. If kids’ flotation devices do not fit properly, the device may have the opposite effect and actually become a water safety hazard for kids. Larger flotation devices should never be purchased under the intention that the child will “grow into” them.
Life jackets for kids can play a significant role in preventing water-related accidents. The type of life jacket a child wears should depend on the swimming activity. The United States Coast Guard classifies life jackets into three main types: type I, type II, and type III. Type I life jackets are bulkier and designed to keep individuals afloat and face-up while in the water. This type of life jacket is best for offshore use, such as in the ocean during a boating trip. Type II life jackets are less bulky, but may not help to keep wearers face-up. Type III life jackets are recommended for swimming pools and other casual swimming activities. These jackets are considered flotation aids.
Kids’ Swim Floats
Often referred to as “floaties,” kids’ swim floats are personal flotation devices designed to be worn on the body, such as around the waist or around the upper arms. These types of kids’ water safety gear may also be available as rafts or boards that allow children to sit inside or on top of them to stay above water. Due to the low cost, high availability, and ease of use, it is recommended that at least one type of kids’ swim floats is available in any environment where kids are swimming.
Pool Alarm Systems
Families who own pools may want to consider a pool alarm system. Pool alarm systems may take the form of devices such as pool doors and gates, installed motion detection devices, and motion-sensitive bracelets or necklaces. Pool alarm technology may be helpful outside of swimming activities when children may wander off toward the pool. In the event that a child accidentally falls in, cameras and motion detectors that monitor the water surface can alert adults immediately. When swimming, kids’ swimming bracelet and necklace systems are designed to detect potential signs of drowning and alert adults accordingly.