Drowning Prevention And Water Safety For Children
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children in the United States. Studies show that ten people die each day from accidental drowning; on average two out of these ten people are children younger than fourteen years old. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages one to four than any other leading cause. It is also the foremost cause of death in autistic children and adults and this is why drowning prevention is so important.
For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency services such as first aid and CPR for injuries that are nonfatal but were caused while swimming. Most fatalities can unfortunately happen at a family, friends or home pools.
For children who are younger than five years old, 87% of drowning fatalities happen in their home pools or hot tubs. Pools are the main places that cause risk of drowning.
Many people do not know that bathtubs also pose a great risk to younger children and infant babies. Older children and adults are more at risk for drowning in natural water such as beaches, lakes and ponds.
This is why spreading awareness about drowning prevention and water safety is so important.
The leading causes of drowning can vary depending on the person and the situation:
- Lack of adult supervision around pools, bathtubs, waterparks and buckets of water
- Children swimming alone
- Children wandering in the water
- Swimming in public areas where there is no lifeguard on duty
- Failure to use life jackets while swimming or boating
- Inability to swim
- Panic in the water
- Falling through ice (winter hazard)
- Alcohol consumption
- Heart attacks, seizures and concussions
As noted above, these are some of the leading causes of drowning. Many of these situations can be easily avoidable and prevented. Children should never swim alone. They should always be supervised when they are in close quarters with water. Everyone, regardless of how good of a swimmer they are, should always have approved safety equipment on or near them. Alcohol and water do not mix well.
Swimming or participating in any water activity while under the influence causes accidents. These are just a few precautions that can potentially save a life. Unfortunately, while not all accidents are preventable, knowing how to react after an accident occurs can also save a life.
If a person suffers a seizure or heart attack in the water, there can be little warning to rescue them. Concussions can be avoided by restricting jumping, diving and horse play in and around the pool. Quick response is the main key if any of these situations arise.
Statistics show that drowning varies by race and housing income. The reason for this is that minorities and people who are living in poverty cannot afford the luxury of swimming lessons and are not as educated on the risks of drowning when swimming.
79% of children in households that make less than $50,000 have few to zero swimming skills. This setback continues generation after generation. When parents have little to no swimming skills, it is extremely likely that their children will also have no swimming skills.
64% of African Americans have few to zero swimming skills, 45% of Hispanic/Latinos have few to zero swim skills and 40% of Caucasians have few to zero swim skills.
This affects 78% of African American children, 62% of Hispanic/Latino children and 67% of Caucasian children. It is five times more likely for African American children ages five to nineteen to drown in swimming pools than Caucasian children in the same age range.
Most people believe the myth that as long as you are larger than the body of water you are in, that you are safe. This is not accurate, drowning can occur in just a few inches of water! There are various drowning prevention provisions that you can take to lower the odds:
- Fencing your home pool
- Emptying and/or turning over your kiddie pools
- Installing door/window alarms if you have a home pool
- Keeping your bathroom door closed at all times if you have young children
- Keeping rescue materials such as a first aid kit, cell phone and floats nearby
- Taking a water safety course
- When supervising children around water, use “touch supervision”
- Take swim lessons
- Ensuring that your toilet seats are down and buckets or pails of water are all emptied
- Inform your children that open waters such as lakes or ponds can pose threats
- Avoid walking near pools or bodies of water
- Avoid flooded roads
- Remove all toys from your pools
- Beware of drains
- Feet first; meaning the first descendant of any body of water should be the jump
- Stay in designated areas at public beaches or lakes
These are just some of the things you can do to assure safety whether at your home pool or in a public setting. Most states require that your home pool be fenced in and that it follows the safety guidelines. You should install your fence at least 4 feet tall (1.2 meters) so it separates the pool area from your home.
You should also avoid fences that children can easily climb over. Also, installing self latching gates that open away from your pool with latches that are beyond your child’s reach will help.
When you leave toys in the water, children are more likely to try and retrieve these toys, thus creating a higher chance of drowning. Another precaution mentioned above was to beware of drains! Body parts and hair can easily be entrapped by the strong suction of drains.
There are specially designed drain covers and safety vacuum release systems that can prevent the chance of entrapment. However, children, especially, should avoid this area completely.
Our goal at InstaSwim is to keep everyone safe and to ensure that everyone reaches their full potential during each swim lesson. Drowning prevention is something we do not take lightly. Knowing how to prevent leading causes of child injury, such as drowning, is a huge step in the right direction.
When most of us are enjoying our time at the pool, beach, or lake, injuries are not the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, drowning kills more children ages 1-4 than anything else, excluding birth defects. Rest assured, at InstaSwim, all of our instructors have more than 2 years of experience teaching lessons and are both CPR & First Aid certified!