ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill., July 30 (UPI) -- Children should always wear life jackets when on boats or near bodies of water and never swim alone, U.S. pediatricians advise.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents and caregivers to make sure the life jacket is the right size for the child and that the jacket should not be loose. It should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.
"Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices," the AAP said. "Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example."
Adolescents and adults should be warned of the dangers of boating when under the influence of alcohol, drugs and even some prescription medications.
In addition, the AAP also advised people should never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies, the AAP said.
A lifeguard, or another adult who knows about water rescue, needs to be watching children whenever they are in or near the water. However, younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water. Use "touch supervision," keeping no more than an arm's length away, the AAP said.
"Make sure your child knows never to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects," the AAP said.
"Never let your child swim in canals or any fast moving water. Ocean swimming should only be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty."