Summer is here and the water is inviting. Almost everyone likes to cool off and relax at the pool, lake or beach this time of year. However, according to the CDC, 30% of all child deaths in the 1 to 4 years old range were from drowning and fatal drowning remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. In addition, for every child that drowns, four more are hospitalized for near-drowning incidents. Unfortunately children drown year round and not just in the summer months. Children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Bathtubs, buckets, fish tanks and even toilets can be a potential source for a child to drown in. Parents, grandparents and all adults must be ever vigilant to protect our children from drowning accidents. Below are suggestions to help protect children from drowning.
Things You Will Need
Pool safety fence, Door locks, Door alarms, Approved flotation devices, Floating pool alarm
The fist step and one of the most important is NEVER leave a child unattended in the bath or near water and avoid distractions such as talking on the phone. Learn CPR as time is of the essence in drowning cases and the time it takes for emergency services to arrive is crucial in the saving of a child's life. Also get swimming lessons for children as soon as they are old enough. The Red Cross and YMCA in most communities provide lessons. But remember, just because a child has had lessons, they are not drown proof and can not be left unattended.
If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, fence it. A pool fence must be at least 4 feet high and completely separate the pool from the house and play area. The fence must have self-closing and self-latching gates. Make sure all doors leading out to the pool remain locked and install door alarms if possible to alert you if the doors are opened. It is surprising how toddlers can find ways to unlock doors even with locks well above their reach. After swimming, put away all pool toys as they are inviting to young children and they may fall in while trying to retrieve a toy. Don't allow children to play near drains as a strong suction may entrap them. Install a floating pool alarm that sounds when anything falls into the pool. In the case of inflatable pools, always empty and turn them upside down when done using them. On rigid sided pools get a safety cover and use it when finished and remove the stairs and/or ladder.
Do not rely on foam toys such as water noodles or air filled swimming aids such as water wings or inner-tubes because they can and do leak. Use only coast guard approved life vests. Boat
When swimming in natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers or the beach know the area and any potential hazards. Holes, underwater obstructions such as fallen tree branches and other obstacles can be dangerous. Never allow a child to be too far from shore. At the beach check to make sure there are no strong rip currents in the area. These can vary as to when they occur. There may not be any one day but do to weather and other conditions may be present the next day. If caught in a rip current swim parallel to shore until you are free of the current, then swim toward the shore. Swimming toward shore while in a rip current will exhaust you. Never dive into water head first until after you know the depth and bottom conditions. Always go in feet first until you know it is safe. Also, never swim alone and only swim in designated areas. Always have the child wear the proper floatation device.
Since children are attracted to water, some everyday items that are potential sources of downing need attention. Never leave a child alone in the bath or under the supervision of another child and drain the tub immediately after the bath. Install childproof locks on the lids of toilets. Toddlers love to splash and may loose their balance and fall in head first and not be able to push themselves out. The same is true for buckets. Empty them and never leave them outside where the can accumulate water. Make sure fish tanks are covered.
Unfortunately children drown year round and not just in the summer months. Children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Bathtubs, buckets, fish tanks and even toilets can be a potential source for a child to drown in.
Tips & Warnings
Learn the meaning of and obey the warnings of colored beach flags. Swim in areas with lifeguards present. Learn CPR, Never swim alone, always use the buddy system
Never swim during thunder storms. If you see lightning or hear thunder get out of the water immediately. Lightning can strike even if you haven't heard thunder yet.
Always go into the water feet first and never dive into the shallow end.