Experts issue warning to parents over dangerous children's arm bands
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An expert has issued a warning to parents over children’s arm bands, saying they don’t provide as much safety as some people might assume.
Keeping kids safe around water is a never-ending battle, especially in summer, when we all know just how important a refreshing dip can be.
But there are always risks around bodies of water that we all have to be aware of, especially if your children can’t swim yet.
According to the CDC and USA Swimming Foundation, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in young children aged one to four.
A few months back, Olympic gold medallists Rowdy Gaines, Missy Franklin Johnson and Cullen Jones went on the Today show to share their advice and ‘debunk some myths’ about water safety, in a bid to keep people out of trouble this summer.
Franklin Johnson warned that ‘floaties’ or inflatable arm bands may not be as helpful as we might think, as they can give us a ‘false sense of security’.
She said: “We’re not here to shame, we’re not here to tell parents they’re doing anything wrong. I think the big thing for all of us when it comes to floaties is what they do is they give your child a false sense of security in the water.
“If they’re wearing floaties, they think that they’re safe in the water, so then next time they see a body of water, they might go running towards it, thinking that they are safe.
"If they’ve not had some lessons, if they do not have a water watcher there with them, we really don't’ want anything horrible to happen.
“So if you absolutely have to use floaties, do what you have to do, but just know as a parent what that’s doing for your child – and for you as well, for you to know that they’re not safe just because they have a floatation device.”
Gaines, who leads Step Into Swim, a Pool & Hot Tub Alliance initiative that promotes water safety education and works to create more swimmers – also told the Today website: “I think floaties are a good tool that get kids used to the water, but they shouldn't be used as a crutch.
"I'm begging parents not to take their eyes off their children when they're in or around water."
He went on: "The problem with floaties is that it gives parents a literal false sense of security.
"You throw your kid in a floatie and think: 'Oh, that's all they need.' It's really the furthest thing from the truth."
Instead, the trio recommended getting kids to swimming lessons as the best way of keeping them safe, with the CDC and USA Swimming Foundation saying these reduce that risk of drowning by a whopping 88 percent.
That said, Natalie Livingston, co-founder and owner of risk management consulting and education firm ALIVE Solutions Inc, said parents shouldn’t assume a child who knows how to swim isn't in danger of drowning.
"We see drownings happen to people who knew how to swim all the time," she said.
"People can have medical events, can get a cramp, can get tired and can have someone else pull them under."