Keeping your Child Safer in Open Water

Did you know that children over the age of six usually drown in open water? That means that 71% of the Earth’s surface poses a drowning risk to your child. Rivers, lakes, oceans, retention ponds, streams, drainage ditches, blocked street drains, canals, and of course, flooding from violent storms and hurricanes. I could go on, but you get the idea.

So how do you keep your child safe around open water? And not just now, but for their whole life because adults also usually drown in open water.

Learn the International Open Water Safety Guidelines by heart, and teach your children.

International Open Water Safety Guidelines

Care of Self

  • Learn swimming and water survival skills.
  • Always swim with others.
  • Obey all safety signs and warning flags.
  • Never go in the water after drinking alcohol.
  • Know how and when to use a life jacket.
  • Swim in areas with a lifeguard.
  • Know the weather and water conditions before getting in the water.
  • Always enter shallow and unknown water feet first.

Care of Others

  • Help and encourage others, especially children, to learn swimming and water safety survival skills.
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards.
  • Set water safety rules.
  • Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water.
  • Know how and when to use a life jacket, especially with children and weak swimmers.
  • Learn first aid and CPR.
  • Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.
  • Obey all safety signs and warning flags.

What are the Guidelines? The Open Water Safety Guidelines were developed by an international task force that identified the lack of consistent clear messages around open water safety and decided something needed to change. The Guidelines are being adopted by an increasing number of organizations around the world, including: The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Risk Management Department of the U.S. National Parks, Royal Life Saving Society Australia, AUSTSWIM, Commonwealth Lifesaving – Royal Life Saving Society, USA Swimming Foundation, National Drowning Prevention Alliance, International Federation of Swim Teacher’s Association, Kenya Life Saving

4 Family Friendly Workouts That Combine Fitness with Fun

For those of us busy with family, work and life, our workout routines are often the first to get the pink slip. But they shouldn’t be. In fact, physical activity is important for easing stress, boosting energy levels and warding off chronic diseases.

What’s the solution for fitting it all in? Make workout routines a family affair. You’ll get your heart pumping and your children will also learn healthy habits. In fact, a recent study from Oregon State University found that parents play a pivotal role in whether their kids become active or turn into couch potatoes. And with 17 percent of children currently overweight or obese, it’s especially important teach your little ones about fitness at an early age.

With that in mind, consider my four suggestions to combine workouts with family time. I guarantee you’ll have a blast while working up a sweat!

Family Workout Routine No. 1: Circuit Station

Stuck at home or trapped inside? Create a boot-camp style workout for the whole family: Set up five or six stations of body-weight exercises, such as jumping jacks, push-ups, lunges and squats. Assign each member of the family to a different station and rotate every 15 to 30 seconds.

For an extra push, run a lap around the yard (or house) after each circuit. Cycle through the stations five times. Don’t forget to keep a box of tissues to wipe away the sweat and a bottle of water on hand.

Family Workout Routine No. 2: At the Track

Take advantage of the track at your local middle or high school. Bring a soccer ball for your kids to play with in the center of the track as you walk or run. To ramp up the intensity, do intervals: Alternate between sprinting and walking laps. Are your kids too young to play on their own? Push them in a jogging stroller.

Family Workout Routine No. 3: Dance Party

Get your heart pumping with some fast-paced tunes! Put on your favorite workout music and start dancing with your kids. You’ll burn up to 330 calories an hour, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not sure how to get your groove going? Try a dance workout DVD or an interactive video game.

Family Workout Routine No. 4: At the Playground

Don’t stay on the sidelines — join in on the fun! Race your kids up and down the steps and slide, or bring a jump rope and let your kids count while you skip. Make sure to bring a pack of to-go tissues to clean off dirt and wipe up the sweat.

You can also turn the playground into your personal gym with these moves:

  • Walking lunges: Start in a standing position with your feet together. Step forward with your right leg. Bend both knees, lowering your hips to the ground. Your right knee should be directly over your ankle with your left knee facing the ground. Push up with your left foot and return back to the starting position. Repeat, leading with your left leg. For an extra challenge, carry one of your children as you lunge.
  • Monkey bar pull-ups: If you can’t quite do a full pull-up, just hang in there. Hold the pull-up position — with your chin above the bar — and count backward from 10. Repeat three times.
  • Decline push-ups: Place your toes on the edge of the slide and plant your palms on the ground. Bend your elbows and lower until your face is a few inches from the ground. Do two sets of 10.
  • Step-ups on a bench: Do 20 step-ups with your right leg, followed by 20 with your left leg.
  • Triceps dips: Begin sitting on a bench, with your hands next to or slightly beneath your hips. Lift up onto your hands, bringing your hips forward and off the bench. Bend your elbows (no more than 90 degrees) and lower your hips down. Push back up. Avoid locking your elbows and keep your shoulders down. Do three sets of 15.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 11-05-2012 to 11-11-2012

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 20 news-worthy events.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Early Use of Antiviral Medications May Help Prevent Lung Failure in Children with the Flu

Calming the Morning Chaos with Kids

Morning – the most important part of the day but sometimes also the most stressful. Let’s face it, if we have a hectic morning full of chaos, it can ruin or at least put a damper on the rest of the day. If you’re tired of having to nag the kids to get ready for school, frantic last minute searches for car keys or lost homework, and feeling like you are always running late then you need these tips for calming the morning chaos!

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Tip #1: Plan and Prepare

The number one most important thing you can do to make the morning run smoothly is to spend a little time each evening preparing for the next day. Take time to ask your kids for any papers that need to be signed and returned to school and check for important school event dates. Keep a family calendar where everyone can see it and add events, activities, & appointments and check the calendar each evening for the next day so everyone knows what to expect. Post it where you and your kids can see it and add activities and important dates as needed.

Also, make sure kids are going to bed early enough to get a good night’s rest so they are easier to wake up in the morning. That also goes for mom and dad too – if you don’t get enough rest, it will be much harder to get going the next day.

Tip #2: Prepare for Lunch the Night Before

You can also save time by packing lunchboxes the night before. If it needs to be kept cold, put it in the refrigerator. Packing a lunch the night before allows more time for kids to choose what they want to take and for parents to make a healthier lunch than pre-packaged boxed lunches. If they are eating the school lunches, check the lunch menu frequently so there are no last minute requests to take a lunch when they don’t like what the school is serving.

Kids can do many things themselves to help tame the morning chaos if they have a morning routine to follow.

Tip #3: Post a Routine for the Family to Follow

First, post a routine of all the steps each kids needs to do to get ready for school. For kids too young to read, you can use pictures.

Tip #4: Choose Outfits the Night Before

Each night have them pick out their outfits for the next day, including underwear, socks and shoes. Put these all together and ready to go for morning. Lay them out on a chair or put them all together on one hanger for each child using a plastic baggie to hold underwear and socks. If they have dresser drawers instead, you could fold and stack outfits together instead of separating shirts, pants, etc.

Tip #5: Create a Launch Pad

Finally, have your kids create a “launch pad” where each night they can put everything they need for school in one place and ready to go out the door the next morning. If possible, have it near the door you will leave out of each morning. This will eliminate those last minute searches for any needed items.

Saturday, November’s Sensory Friendly Film is Wreck-It Ralph

Once a month, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and with other special needs ”Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings“ – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden”.

On Saturday November 10th at 10am local time, Wreck-It Ralph will be screened as part of the Autism Society “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” program. Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming December 8th: Rise of the Guardians


Editor’s note: Although Wreck-It Ralph has been chosen by the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some rude humor and mild action/violence. As always, please check the IMDB Parent’s Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 10-29-2012 to 11-04-2012

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 news-worthy stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

New guidelines help Canadian doctors diagnose heart failure in children