Before we start jumping into bathing suits and breaking out the sunscreen, I urge every adult and child to take the Pool Safely Pledgewith me. With every year that passes, we lose more lives to drowning when most drowning fatalities are preventable. With more awareness and proactive measures, we can decrease the steep number of drowning accidents a little more, each year.
Behind unintentional injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 and 10-14. Stanford Children’s Health released a study in Water Safety - Injury Statistics and Incidence Ratesstating that on average, 830 children, under the age of 14, drown every year, and another 3,600 children are treated for injuries from near drowning experiences. Among infants, bathtubs are responsible for half the drowning-related incidents but pools, toilets, and buckets can be hazardous with a lack of supervision as well. If you limit your child’s water activities to backyard pools, please keep in mind that Stanford forewarns that approximately, ⅓ of drowning cases take place in their own pool or at a friend’s, so caution still needs to be used.
Another factor to remember is 80% of the water fatalities are male. Piedmont Health Care states in their article, Why are men more likely to drown than women?that this may be because males are more likely to engage in risky behavior during water ventures. This can include swimming alone, participating in water sports, choosing not to wear a life jacket, and consuming alcohol before entering the water. Alcohol consumption is involved in half of all male drownings.
Most water accidents take place between late spring and summer, more specifically, between the months of May and August, with an unfortunate spike during July 4th weekend.
There are different scenarios that can lead to accidental drowning. With caution and supervision, most can be prevented. Jordan Law states in 8 Common Causes of Drowning Accidentsthat often, the reasons include:
The last two are harder to prevent but with forward-thinking, we can lower the number of preventable deaths altogether. Talk to your children about the importance of not roughhousing near pools and to never dive into a shallow body of water. This can help prevent them from having an accident due to a head injury.
There are things you can do to limit your chances of having an accident. National Safety Council suggests:
1.Unless you can swim, do not enter the water.
2.Never swim alone.
3.Learn CPR and other rescue techniques.
4.Ensure the body of water matches your skill level.
5.If you get caught in a current, swim with it, and parallel to the shore until you can safely get out.
6.Make sure a lifeguard is on duty for any accidents that may occur.
It is crucial to ensure your child is safe around and in the water. Under no circumstance should you walk or look away, even for a minute. It takes only a second for things to take a tragic turn. If you leave the area, make sure your child gets safely out of the water and comes with you. Leaving them by the side of the pool can be extremely hazardous as well.
If you decide to take your family out on the water, make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. It is important to teach your children safe boat etiquette to prevent boating accidents. If everyone including the adults are wearing a life jacket, kids will be more likely to wear them and respect the reasoning.
National Safety Council's, Pool Safely This Summer and Red Cross’s, Water Safety recommend before breaking out the flip flops and sunglasses, to keep these tips in mind for a safer summer:
It couldn’t have been said any better than the National Safety Council, “Every pool, every lake, and every warm summer day holds the possibility of new, fun summer experiences. All you need to add is your undivided attention.”