Summertime is a great time for families to get together and enjoy some fun in the sun. Swimming is one of America's favorite pastimes, and what could be more fun than spending a day at the pool with your friends and family? However, it's important to remember that swimming can also be dangerous, especially if you're not careful. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1-14 years old.
Facts You Should Know:
- Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest rates of drowning. Most drowning deaths of children ages 1 to 4 occur in swimming pools. Drowning can occur at any moment, even when children are not anticipated to be near water, such as when they get unsupervised access to swimming pools.
- Nearly eighty percent of drowning fatalities are male. Increased exposure to water, risk-taking behaviors, and alcohol consumption may all contribute to the greater risks of drowning among males.
- Black children aged 10-14 are 7.6 times more likely to drown in swimming pools than White children. White children and adolescents are more likely to drown in domestic pools, while black children and adolescents are more likely to drown in public pools. 11 American Indians and Alaska Natives had the greatest drowning death rates in natural water, with rates 2.7 times higher than Whites.
- People with seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, have an increased risk of drowning, both fatal and nonfatal. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death, with the bathtub being the most prevalent location for those with seizure disorders to drown.
Teaching parents the importance of water safety is important. Each year there are approximately 3,960 fatal drownings that occur in America. That's roughly 11 drowning deaths per day. A large percentage of them occur around swimming pools in backyards or at friends' houses. That alone illustrates the importance of why practicing good water safety habits is so important. The following are a few tips for parents so that everyone can enjoy the pool safely this summer!
One of the most important things you can do to keep your kids safe around the pool is to teach them how to swim. This will not only help them stay safe in the water, but it will also give them the confidence they need to enjoy swimming. There are many different ways to learn how to swim, so find one that works best for your family. You can enroll them in swimming lessons at the local pool or YMCA, or even take a class together as a family. Whatever you decide, just make sure that your children are comfortable and confident in the water before letting them go off on their own.
While pool safety should always be a priority for parents, it's especially important if you have young children in the house. In addition to teaching your children how to swim, there are also some water safety tips you should follow when you're at the pool.
Basic Pool Safety Tips For Parents
- Designate an adult to be the "water watcher" during pool parties and gatherings. This person should not be drinking alcohol and should be paying close attention to the swimmers.
- If you have a pool at home, make sure it is surrounded by a pool fence that is at least four feet high. The gate should be self-closing and self-latching.
- For those with a swimming pool in their backyard, install a pool alarm system that can detect when swimmers are in distress or immersion occurs.
- Swim in a well-lit area so that you can see if anyone is in trouble. If you own a pool, consider installing pool lighting.
- Teach your children how to swim as early as possible. Enroll them in swimming lessons with a certified instructor.
- Make sure everyone in your family knows how to perform CPR on both adults and children.
- Keep pool safety equipment nearby, such as a shepherd's hook or ring buoy. Make sure you know how to use it before you need it.
- If you own a swimming pool and have small children, make sure to install a pool safety cover.
- Finally, never leave your child unattended near any body of water, even for just a few minutes.
Water safety is important. Practicing good habits can help prevent a tragedy from occurring. Even with preventative measures, it's important to note that drowning happens quickly. The signs are subtle and it's not always apparent that a person is struggling in the water. Experts say there are a number of signs to watch for:
- Bobbing in the water - If the person is "actively drowning," which means they are not yet unconscious, they will be bobbing in the water and coming to the surface to gasp for air before going back under quickly. They will be grabbing at everything they can find.
- Tilting their head back - A person who is drowning will have their head tipped back so that their mouth is level with the surface of the water. As they break through the water's surface, they will gasp for air before going back down.
- People who are drowning may not warn you - "Drowning is silent" is a saying you may have heard. If someone is drowning, it is likely they may not have the capacity to call out for help.
- Drowning happens quickly - Experts say it frequently takes less than 30 seconds for someone to drown so it's important to act the moment you suspect someone is in trouble.
By following these simple tips, you can help keep your family safe this summer while still enjoying all the fun that comes with swimming! Do you have any other pool safety tips? Share them with us in the comments!
Please remember to take water safety seriously- it could mean the difference between life and death. With a few simple precautions, you can make sure that your family enjoys a fun and safe summer pool season!
For more information on pool safety, please visit the following websites:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Water Safety Tips for Parents
- The National Drowning Prevention Alliance: Pool Safely Campaign Resources
- The American Red Cross: Swimming & Water Safety Classes & Certification
Thanks for reading! Stay safe this summer!
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