Imagine this: It is the morning after your best friend’s house warming party and you leave your child in the care of a baby sitter at the new house, with the friend’s child to drive your friend to the airport.
The baby sitter leaves the two children playing in the garden unattended and when you get back you are faced with the shock of your life, your own child floating in the swimming pool.
The above heart wrenching incident which happened to two mothers in Gaborone recently is one of the worst nightmares that any parent can ever be faced with.
In light of the above misfortune Caroline Minju of the Birds and the Bees, a children’s organisations shares a few tips that parents can embrace to spare themselves a possibility of a similar misery.
She says: Many parents are always worried about the safety of their children especially working parents who are often out of home for a great deal of the day.
Whether you have a baby, toddler, or school-age child your home should be a haven where your little ones can explore safely, after all touching, holding, climbing and exploring are activities that help develop your child’s body and mind.
I have come across some parents who have refused to build a swimming pool for fear of their children’s drowning. But what parents should understand is that drowning can happen in many other places in the home not only in the swimming pool.
Water safety is important at any age but is especially crucial with babies and toddlers who are at the peak of exploring the environment. What parents should be aware of, is that drowning can happen very quickly and in less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water, so filled bathtubs, swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs, and even buckets of water and sinks can be dangerous to your child if proper safety measures are not taken.
Completely childproofing your home can be difficult. But here are a few tips that may reduce the risk of drowning.
Never leave a baby unattended in the bath. If you must answer the telephone or door, don’t rely on an older sibling to watch the baby: wrap your baby in a towel and bring him or her with you.
Never leave a bathtub, bucket or other container filled with any amount of water or other liquid unattended.
Never use a bathtub seat or supporting ring without constant adult supervision. The seat can overturn or a baby may slip out into the water.
Install a toilet-lid locking device and keep bathroom doors closed at all times
If you have a pool in your backyard, install fencing at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) high on all sides of the pool, as well as a self-closing and self-latching gate with a lock that’s out of a child’s reach.
Consider installing a pool alarm or cover, but realize these devices are not substitutes for fencing and adult supervision
Remove toys from the pool when kids have finished swimming to prevent them from trying to recover them when unsupervised.
Inflatable flotation devices such as vests, water wings, rafts, and tubes can give a false sense of security in the pool and are not effective in protecting a child from drowning. Never use these substitute for constant adult supervision
Dump out all water from a wading pool when you are finished using it.
Remove any ladders from an above the ground pool when not in use.
If you leave your child with a babysitter, make sure he or she knows the rules for the pool.
Over and above the few tips:-
Learn Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) This may help in case of an accident while waiting for the ambulance
Make a first-aid kit and keep emergency instructions inside
Keep the following numbers near the phone or at a visible place like sticking them on the fridge.
Toll free police and ambulance number
Parents’ work and cell phone numbers
Neighbour’s or nearby relative’s number