Having a waterfront home gives you amazing views and easy access to aquatic activities including boating, fishing, and swimming. However, living near the water also comes with extra responsibilities especially when children are involved. If you know that you will be having children enjoying your pool or waterfront access you need to follow some important safety steps to prevent accidents and make sure everyone enjoys the water responsibly.
Always Be Watching
When children play near the water or go swimming, you need to keep a watchful eye. Unfortunately, for children aged 1 to 4, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths. Keep in mind that when a person is drowning, they don't wave their hands or scream. They use up all of their energy to stay afloat.
So, the only way to understand that your grandchild is in trouble is to watch them closely and react to any changes in behavior.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), adults should be within arm's length of children who are under five years old. The same is true for older children who don't know how to swim.
Install Fences and Locked Gates
If the children are young, but you allow them to play in the yard alone, you have to prevent them from leaving the property and getting near the water. To do that, you can build a fence with a locked gate.
Chances are, you already have a beautiful fence around your property, but make sure the lock on the gate is tough enough so children can't open it without your help. Alternatively, you can set an alarm that chimes every time someone opens the gate.
If you have a pool on your property, also consider fencing it off. If that's not a possibility, you would have to either cover it securely while the children are playing outdoors.
Invest In Safety Gear
Remember, flotation devices, such as arm bands or foam noodles don't prevent drowning. To protect children if they are going rafting, kayaking, or paddle boarding, you need to equip them with a personal flotation device approved by the U.S. coast guard.
A life vest or a life belt can be a great option for children who don't know how to swim. However, a watchful eye is still a must-have part of the process.
Sit Down And Have A Talk
Another important safety tip is sitting down with the children to explain why it’s important to be safe and listen to the rules.
Older children need to understand the ground rules of living on waterfront property. While it may be hard to resist the urge to take a swim, they should know that you are against them doing so without supervision. Talk about wearing protective gear and listening to adults before going into the water. If kids are planning to swim in the ocean, explain what dangerous currents are and how to behave if you are caught in one.
While a talk alone isn't enough to keep your grandkids safe, it can complement your efforts and help children make smart decisions.
If you have a waterfront home and know that you need to add some safety features to protect any children that live there or will be visiting, contact Duncan Seawall. There are many options to choose from, and you can add the ones you want over time. No matter what, the features will only help protect your loved ones and keep the safe.