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    13 Water Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

    Make your kids as safe as possible this summer.

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    Ahead of May's National Water Safety Month, The U.S. Swim School Association has released a list of water safety tips every parent should know:

    1. Enroll your kids in swim lessons.

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    Start your baby in classes at 6 months of age and continue them year-round.

    2. Keep your kids under constant supervision.

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    3. Know CPR.

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    To find a CPR class taught by a certified instructor in your area, visit the Red Cross website or call (800) RED-CROSS.

    You can also check out this reference from the Red Cross, which is a good introduction (or refresher) to child CPR.

    4. Install pool fences and barriers.

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    5. Create a process your kid must go through before entering a pool, such as putting on a swim diaper, a swimsuit, and applying sunscreen.

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    Sue Mackie, the executive director of the U.S. Swim School Association, says, "If you teach your child a process and follow it, it will deter your child from trying to jump into the pool at a whim." Mackie compares this process to a bedtime ritual for little ones.

    6. It's also a good idea to create a verbal cue that you must give your kids before they can enter the pool.

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    For example, you can insist that no one gets into the pool until you holler Weird Al's surname.

    7. Never allow your baby/toddler in the pool without a swim diaper.

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    Mackie says, "If you use a swim diaper every time your child will be programmed to find the swim diapers and try to put one on before he or she tries to get into the pool, giving you more time to intercept."

    8. Never use floatation devices or water wings when swimming or when teaching kids to swim.

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    "If the child is swimming with water wings, the child and the parent are relying on the water wings to keep the child afloat," Mackie says. "They are not learning to float and swim unassisted. If the child falls into the pool unexpectedly, he or she will not know how to float or find the side to exit the water safely."

    Mackie also cautions that water wings can "come off or become deflated - again leaving the child in a potentially compromising situation."

    9. Make sure your kids learn to swim without goggles and are comfortable opening their eyes underwater.

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    This way, if they fall into the pool, they can find the side or a step and get out safely.

    10. Have very young kids practice putting their entire face underwater in the bathtub and blow bubbles.

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    This will build their comfort with water.

    11. Create a water safety plan for your family.

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    An important part of this is practicing water emergency drills with your kids that cover how to recognize the signs of someone struggling in water, and what to do in this type of emergency.

    12. Make sure your guests and kids’ friends know your pool rules before they go outside and get in the pool.

    13. Always make sure your kids wear life jackets on boats, personal watercraft, and in open bodies of water.

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    Lastly, have fun!

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