As the weather heats up and pools, lakes, beaches and other waterfronts become part of your family’s weekly routine, Sunsational Swim School would like to remind everyone of a very serious, real, and often-dismissed danger: drowning.
Drowning continues to be the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 14 years and younger. Read that again. In the US during the summer months alone, drowning will claim about 4,000 children’s lives. It’s a heart wrenching tragedy. It happens in just seconds. It is truly scary.
Fortunately, and somewhat frusratingly, accidental drowning is almost 100% preventable. Hold yourself, family and friends accountable to practice these water-safety tips and prevent this tragedy in your lives. Read, practice and share. You really could be responsible for saving a young child’s life.
Read This: Drowning Is A Real Threat
The issue spans farther than the United States. According to the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is a major public health problem worldwide. The numbers are staggering.
- In 2015, an estimated 360,000 people died from drowning
- Drowning is one of the top 5 causes of death for children ages 14 years and younger for 48 of 85 countries with sufficient data to be included in the survey
- More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency room departments require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6 percent for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic function or even a permanent vegetative state.
Practice: Proven Drowning-Prevention Best Practices
The drowning statistics are staggering, but they easily can be reduced. Save yourself, family and others from becoming part of these tragic statistics. Practice these proven prevention tips today.
1. Always supervise children in or around water
Always have a responsible adult supervising children around any body of water: bathtubs, pools, lakes, beaches, etc. Even if you think all children are outside of the water, the designated watcher needs to stay on high-alert for any accidental falls into the water. This person should be close enough to reach the child at all times and free of distractions including cell phones, books, magazines and more.
2. If you have a pool, pond or lake: fence it off
The majority of drowning deaths happen in backyard pools. If you have a pool or body of water in your backyard, fence it off. The CDC recommends four-sided pool fences at least 4 feet tall with a self-closing, self-latching door that opens outward.
3. Know the signs of drowning
It's not at like it's depicted in the movies. It's often silent and takes only seconds. Recognizing the signs of drowning can help you save another's life.
4. Learn CPR
Knowing how to correctly perform CPR can be the difference between life and death as you await emergency responders to arrive. You can find CPR & First Aid Training Classes near you through the American Heart Association.
5. Use the buddy system
Always swim with a partner! Do not go swimming by yourself, even if there is a lifeguard present. Having someone else with you will decrease your chances of unintentional drowning.
6. Do not use air-filled or foam toys as safety floating devices
While air-filled and foam toys are fun for play, they are NOT safety floatation devices and should not be treated as such. Such toys include foam noodles, inner tubes, and more: including water wings/floaties. In fact, here are 7 reasons why floaties are bad idea.
The only floatation items you should use as safety devices are proper life jackets.
7. Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use
Toys are a great addition to pool play time. However, they can be a tempting lure into the water when it’s not playtime. Put toys away far from the water to prevent tempting kids to wandering close the water.
8. No diving in the shallow end of the pool
The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet as a minimum depth for diving or jumping
9. Always go feet-first on water slides
Slides are a fun way to enter the water and a grand time at water parks. However, you should always use them feet first to minimize the potential for a head injury while breaking the surface of the water.
10. Know the local weather and water conditions beforehand
If heading out to natural bodies of water (lakes, beaches, rivers, etc.) make sure to check weather conditions beforehand to know about high tides, storms, heavy winds, lightning strikes, etc. which can all be very dangerous.
11. When you’re at the beach, swim only in places that are supervised by a lifeguard
Swimming in your pool and swimming at the beach are totally different experiences. Lifeguards are trained to swim and rescue would-be drowning victims in the conditions of waves, rip tides and currents.
12. Never push others into the pool
Not only could children injure their friends with whiplash, not all others are capable of swimming. It’s best practice to never push another into the water unexpectedly and/or without their permission.
13. Avoid alcohol
Avoid alcohol before and during times of swimming, boating or enjoying other water activities. Alcohol can impair judgement and the reactions needed to safely perform water activities. Do not consume alcohol when supervising children.
14. Learn to swim!
The most effective way to prevent unintentional drowning is to learn how to swim. Formal swimming lessons are proven to reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. Learning to swim from a certified swim instructor will help make you and your family more confident in the water. However, careful supervision still needs to be present even if children know how to swim, as accidents may still happen.
15. Don’t assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning
Even the most experienced swim instructors can get too tired or cramp up. Always keep an eye on children in the water.
Sharing This Information Will Help Reduce Drowning Tragedies
Now you know the alarming drowning statistics and proven ways to reduce them. Learning how to swim with formal swimming lessons reduces the chances of drowning by 88% alone. Practicing these 15 best drowning prevention methods combined can end accidental drowning tragedies. Share this article and your knowledge with others and we really can end this tragedy. Every life matters!
Have a great, safe summer
The water is meant to be enjoyed by everyone, and summer is the perfect time to do it! Please, enjoy it safely and wholeheartedly. And while you're at it, enjoy making memories with your family with these awesome game pool games!