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August 8, 2014
Keeping the kids safe around the water


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Dear Family Travelers:


AAH...there's nothing like a vacation afternoon at the beach. You've got the chairs and towels, the beach toys, snacks and the sunscreen. Now who is the designated water watcher?


That's right -- the assigned water watcher.  


The vast majority of drownings occur when children are being supervised.


Don't count on lifeguards as there may not be any. Most cruise ships -- even those that typically carry 1,000 kids at a time -- don't necessarily have life guards. Disney Cruise Lines is the exception-lifeguards were added after a near drowning on board that left a young child brain damaged. There may not be lifeguards at resorts either.


Even if there are lifeguards, parents are the first layer of supervision, says the American Red Cross. (For more American Red Cross water safety tips, visit www.redcross.org/watersafety.)


To keep kids safe:


- Designate an adult to be a "water watcher," for a set amount of time before switching off. If it helps, pass a "Water Watcher" card around. Take turns, even if there's a lifeguard on duty. Adults should be "touching distance" to preschoolers and toddlers around the water. Don't rely on water wings or other inflatable toys either, pediatricians warn. They may give your child a false sense of security.


-- Teach kids to always ask permission to go near the water; never leave them unattended.


- Avoid distractions when supervising children around the water. Alcohol and water don't mix.


- Insist older kids swim with a buddy. Remind them to stay away from pool and hot tub drains where they can get sucked under water.  


- If visiting friends or relatives with a pool, make sure young children are carefully supervised at all times and that pool gates are locked.  


-- Young kids should wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets when they're near water that is over their heads or on boats. Inflatable floaties just won't cut it.  


Just remember, it only take a moment's distraction for a tragedy to occur.



And from our partners at Family Travel Forum


 Our Kids' Guides Series from Globe Pequot Press continues to grow. Now available: New York, Orlando, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago and   Boston, San Diego, San Francisco and Denver are coming soon!


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