A preventable tragedy
A children’s hospital in Texas just released a grim statistic for the not-yet-over month of June: 15 near drownings and two drowning deaths of small children.
“Can you imagine being a parent, sitting in the ED waiting room, praying that the life of someone you love so dearly is spared, especially since it was something that didn’t have to happen? No parent wants to be saddled with that guilt.”
Such tragedies aren’t unique to Texas. Near drownings and deaths are reported every spring and summer as the weather heats up, kids get out of school, and families flock to local pools, beaches, lakes or rivers.
Related post: How healthy are public pools?
In my state, Washington, spring/early summer is an especially dangerous time around our streams and rivers. The melted snow coming down from the mountains makes the water very high and very fast. Parents and small children are often unaware of the danger and not prepared.
I’m listing some basic summer water safety tips, but drownings can happen year round in hot tubs, bathtubs, ponds, lakes—pretty much any source of water. If you have small children, please refer to one of the more detailed resources I’ve listed at the bottom of the post.
And as I learned recently from a friend’s tragic loss, even accomplished swimmers can be at risk of drowning.
Water safety tips
- Supervision is key!
- Supervise children under the age of 5 100% of the time.
- Be within an arm’s length of the child—”touch supervision”—at all times. Get in the water with your child if you have to.
- Don’t be distracted by talking to friends or talking on the phone.
- With older children, consider using a pool or beach with a lifeguard on duty.
- Have older children swim with a buddy.
- With groups of children, take turns with other adults being the designated “water watcher”
- Don’t rely on inexpensive water wings or float toys to keep a child safe. Buy Coast Guard approved life vests in the correct size and use them!
- Don’t assume a small plastic or inflatable pool is safer; children can drown in as little as a couple inches of water.
- Teach children to swim. Even kids as young as one can learn some basics.
- Keep a phone nearby in case of an emergency.
- Know CPR and first aid.
Related post: Be prepared – Learn basic first aid
Water safety resources
Other than supervision, it’s all about being prepared.
- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
- The American Red Cross
- US Coast Guard
You can also check out my Resources page for more links to children’s health and safety resources.
Have a safe and fun summer!