Baby Water Safety
By J. Johnson
With summer fast approaching many families will be planning outings near the water. Families with babies and small children are no exception. Having the right baby beach gear and specifically, newborn beach gear is essential as well as some common sense when taking your small child around water.
Everyone loves a day at the beach. However, water hazards present a different risk for babies and small children. As a matter of fact the US Coast Guard even recommends to not take a baby or small child on a pleasure craft. What’s the risk? Well children and babies first off are usually unable to recognize the dangers entering the water. We learn as we age about this. So even if a baby or child is wearing some form of life vest there’s still a higher risk of them drowning.
If you’re taking your baby near a pier or any type of body of water and you’re carrying them in a baby stroller I ask you to think about a few things first. My recommendation would be to not take a baby near any water in a baby stroller period. Even the best baby stroller is not designed for water use. And if you do you should be paying extra attention. Which means no texting on a cellphone or trying to carry a conversation with someone while strolling. And most importantly never leave the stroller and baby unattended. Even looking away for a brief moment has resulted in horrific tragedies.
What if the stroller enters the water with your baby? First your baby is not going to know how to react. It only takes a baby two minutes to lose conscious once they are in a drowning situation. Second even if you react quickly are you dressed to enter the water? Sneakers, sandals, jewelry will all hinder your rescue efforts and as a result might even put you in danger as well.
Then there’s the stroller itself. Strollers are not designed for water use. Trying to pull your child from one while it’s sinking is very difficult and again it puts the rescuer at danger of drowning too. Currently there are no strollers on the market that are designed to prevent them from sinking.
Personal Floatation Device(PFD)
If you do decide to bring your child on a boat and feel comfortable with their awareness level of the danger of traveling on a boat then there are type II PFDs (Personal Floatation Device) on the market. The US Coast Guard has approved these. A really great baby beach gear example is the O’Neill USCG nylon infant life vest. It is rated for children up to 30lbs. And comes in different colors as well. But it is advised before actually taking a child to the water and using a life vest you and your child test it out in a controlled, monitored environment. Learning too late about fitting or other issues could be tragic.
Have Fun! But Be Safe.
Going to the beach or oceanfront should be fun however, please use your best judgment and be safe. When shopping for baby beach gear and newborn beach gear always make sure it is proven safe technology. In conclusion, being safe around the water should be hazard free as well as fun!
- http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5214/pfdselection.asp#faq “Children and PFD Selection” & “FAQ”