Would you be surprised if I said that drowning was the number one cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4? I was. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
“Among children ages 1 to 4 years, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools. Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time”.
The CDC recommends four key steps to help you to protect your child from drowning:
1. Learn life-saving skills. Everyone should know the basics of swimming (floating, moving through the water) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Beaumont offers Friends and Family CPR classes.
2. Fence it off. Install a four–sided isolation fence, with self–closing and self–latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. This can help keep children away from the area when they aren’t supposed to be swimming. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.
3. Make life jackets a “must.” Make sure kids wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water, such as lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim. Life jackets can be used in and around pools for weaker swimmers too.
4. Be on the look out. When kids are in or near water (including bathtubs), closely supervise them at all times. Adults watching kids in or near water should avoid distracting activities like playing cards, reading books, talking on the phone, and using alcohol or drugs.
I would add to educate, and re-educate all of your children about pool and general water safety. One fun resource is an interactive video game “The Adventures of Splish and Splash“.
—Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager