Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under, with children under age 5 at the highest risk. Many drowning’s and near drowning’s occur when children are left unattended by a pool, pond or in the bath. The majority of all drowning’s and near drowning’s occur between May and August.
Its also a fact that the drinking of alcohol plays a large part in drowning in adults, and the consumption of alcohol should be avoided at all costs if you intend swimming of any kind.
Adults and children over age 13 should learn infant and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event of a near drowning. Parents and caregivers should also develop and practice an emergency routine.
For many families, visits to the community pool, ponds or beaches are essential rituals of the summer experience. But smooth waters can turn to rough ones when basic water safety precautions, such as constant supervision of children near or around water, are forgotten.
Toddlers and children are attracted to water and love to play in it. Unfortunately, they don’t understand the dangers of drowning. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water in a matter of seconds and it can happen in the time it takes a parent to answer the phone.
Water safety at the swimming pool
A pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the unintentional death of children ages 4 and under. Sixty to ninety percent of the drowning’s occur in residential pools. To prevent drowning’s in swimming pools, abide by the following:
- Never leave your child alone in or around a swimming pool or a spa
- Teach children how to swim. Enrol children in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors when your child is ready, usually after age 3. But keep in mind that lessons don’t make your child drown-proof
- Teach children water safety habits. Children should not run, push others under water, jump on others, dive or jump in shallow water or swim during lightning storms or other bad weather
- Keep a telephone, emergency phone numbers and rescue equipment at the poolside
- Empty inflatable pools and store out of children’s reach when not in use.
Water safety for Ponds, Lakes and Rivers
The majority of drowning’s among older children occur in open bodies of water. These drowning’s happen when an older child overestimates his or her swimming ability or when he or she is swimming in an unsupervised area. To prevent drowning’s in natural or open bodies of water, read the following tips.
- Always watch your child while at the beach, lake or other natural bodies of water
- Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds. Many times children underestimate the depth of water
- Make sure your child wears a personal flotation device when in or near natural bodies of water. Air filled ‘swimming aids,’ such as ‘water wings,’ are not considered safety devices and are not substitutes.
Diving is one of the most hazardous water activities. Most diving-related injuries occur in pools with five feet of water or less. Take the following precautions to prevent diving-related injuries and death:
- Do not let your children dive into water unless an adult is present and knows that the depth of the water is greater than five feet
- Never allow your children to dive into above-ground pools
- Teach your children to dive with their hands in front of their face and to swim toward the surface immediately upon entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom or sides of the pool
- Teach them to dive only from the end of the diving board; never let them dive from rooftops, balconies, ledges or fences
- Teach them to keep their dives simple
- Make sure your diving board is in good condition before allowing your child to use it
- Do not permit children to run and dive
- By following these simple safety precautions, tragic drowning’s and near-drowning’s can be avoided.