Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children?
We are presenting parents, guardians, teachers and even child care workers with this blog that will allow you to talk kids about water safety as summer is just about here which means many will be water bound. Soon kids will be enjoying their summer in a pool or at the beach. It is our hope that we can prevent a needless death and the hell that will surely follow in the way of guilt and grieving.
Those who have kids or are entrusted to supervise kids need to be alert at all times. Depending on the age group of swimmers, drowning is often the first or second leading cause of accidental death for children. Other factors of drowning include demographics of children and whether or not a lifeguard(s) are on deck to properly supervise swimming activities.
We have all been told to stay alert while kids are in a pool and to watch carefully however this is an area that many parents, guardians and nannies fail at especially if they are trying to host a pool party. Unless you have one dedicated individual such as a lifeguard, chances are good that something may happen as drownings often go unnoticed. A professionally trained lifeguard with experience will be able to identify a swimmer in distress and some will even anticipate a problem before it exists.
Unless professionally trained, many parents, guardians, nannies and teachers may not be alert enough to monitor the pool. Some psychologists are saying that lifeguarding is an impossible task we disagree with completely. This would be true of an untrained individual! They say that a pool full of children is simply too much stimulus for the brain to handle. Again, this would be true of individuals who have not had the training and have not conditioned their senses/brain to function in that capacity.
If you are thinking about throwing a pool party or have kids come over for that play day without a lifeguard present, there are some things that can be done to prevent a needless drowning. These recommendations would be especially helpful if planning a trip to the lake, the river or even the beach.
At all ages, kids should wear Coast Guard approved life jackets and ones that are properly fitted. Unless kids can safely pass a swimming test, they should be encouraged to wear a flotation device. We do not recommend water wings as they can deflate and lead to drowning. We encourage life jackets or pool flotation devices such as the following:
Many fear that their kids will kick and scream when forced to wear the flotation device, it does and has saved lives! Life jackets and flotation devices actually reduces water rescues by as much as 90%.
When it comes to life jackets or flotation devices, the idea is to start them off young and condition them the same way you would with car seat belts or even a bicycle helmet. If the kids are resistant, tell them the incentive is that once they learn to swim proficiently, they won’t have to wear the vests.
When dealing with older kids such as those in middle school or even high school, they should be encouraged to get as comfortable as they can in the water even if that means taking swim lessons. Sure they may think that is “stupid” or “lame” but it could save their lives. Dangerous activities such as breath holding or tombstoning should be discouraged. Deaths because of risky activities have been on the rise in recent years and will only continue unless they are taught otherwise. Parents may face a battle against peer pressure but that also needs to be addressed as well.
Other factors that have attributed to needless drownings is that many teens overestimate their abilities or do not know where the deep end of a pool is for example. Many teens and adults have become paralyzed because they dove into the shallow end not realizing the actual depth. That accounts for 95% of head/spinal injuries in pools.
With the right precautions and education, drownings are preventable!