My family, along with many other water loving people, will be heading to the lake this weekend. There were a few boating accidents in our area last week that could have been avoided. I would like to share some tips to help you spend your time on the water safely.
Always have your children wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket when on boats, near open water, or when participating in water sports.
Make sure the life jacket is snug. Have the children make a “touch” signal by raising both arms up; If the life jacket touches a child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.
SUITABLE LIFE JACKETS FOR INFANTS.
According to the US Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety, infants should not travel on a boat, including rowboats, kayaks, powerboats and sailboats until they are of the proper weight for wear an approved personal flotation device (PFD).
Hold your baby while wearing your own life jacket. Car seats are not a good option. If the boat capsized, the seat would sink instantly.
Infants and young children are at greater risk for hypothermia, so if you are taking a baby on a boat, take some extra precautions to keep your baby warm. If your children seem cold or are shaking, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.
DON’T RELY ON SWIMMING AIDS
Remember that swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for children, but they should never be used in place of an approved personal flotation device (PFD). the US Coast Guard.
TEST YOUR BOAT AND DEVELOP SOME BASIC RULES
Explain some basic boat rules and ask everyone to follow them. Children should understand and follow rules such as keeping their hands and feet inside the boat at all times and not running around on a boat.
LEARN FROM THE PROFESSIONALS
Enroll older children in a water safety course. Better yet, sign up with them.
Get a free ship security check each year from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadrons
A large portion of boating accidents that occur each year involve the consumption of alcohol by both boat operators and passengers. To protect your safety and that of your loved ones, you are strongly advised not to drink alcoholic beverages while sailing.
We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be top of the list. This will give you immense peace of mind and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Redmond Hospital offers CPR training.
Make sure there is a working carbon monoxide alarm on any powerboat to alert your family of any toxic fumes buildup from the engine.
Let your teenager operate a boat only in a supervised setting and in accordance with the laws in your area. Laws regarding the operation of a boat or watercraft vary from community to community.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPEN WATER AND SWIMMING POOLS
Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They should be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean surf and changing weather conditions. Try to acquire knowledge about what is hidden under the water you are in. Some lakes are built on farmland with trees and brush.
Make sure children only swim in areas designated for swimming.
Teach children not to dive in oceans, lakes, or rivers because you never know how deep the water is or what might be hidden below the surface.
ACTIVELY MONITOR CHILDREN IN AND AROUND OPEN WATER
Every child is different, so enroll your child in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. Teach children to walk on water, to float and to stay close to the shore.
Make sure an adult is present whenever a teenager rides a personal watercraft.
Floyd County Safe Kids wants everyone to have fun on the water. By following a few rules, everyone will return home safe and sound.