It’s that time of year again! Backyard pools and community pools are beginning to open up for the summer. Such summer fun, however, comes with the responsibility to keep young, novice swimmers, especially toddlers, safe. Over this past weekend, tragedy struck when a two-year old boy drowned in his family’s pool.
According to the New York Office of Children and Family Services, most pool injuries involve children three-years old or younger, and sadly, drowning is the leading cause of death of children between 1 and 4 years old.
In a survey performed by Safe Kids Worldwide, nearly half of the parents surveyed thought that if a child were drowning nearby, they would hear the child struggling. Reality: Drowning is silent. “There can be very little splashing, waving or screaming.” 1 out of 3 parents have left a child alone in a pool for two or more minutes. Reality: Drowning is quick. “Once a child begins to struggle, you may have less than a minute to react.” 60 percent of parents surveyed would not worry as much about drowning if their child has had swim lessons. Reality: Swim lessons are essential, but skill level varies. “A review of children who drowned in a pool revealed that 47 percent of 10-17 year-olds reportedly knew how to swim.”
There are things that we can do to prevent these tragedies. According to the organization Stop Drowning Now, some tips to keep loved ones safe in the pool should include:
- Teaching children to ask permission before getting into the pool. Then reinforce it over and over again.
- Supervision - Parents/caregivers must commit to watching children in the pool – no distractions allowed! Drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.
- Consider swimming lessons. Statistics show that providing young children with swimming lessons teaches them water safety at an early age.
- Learning CPR. Always be prepared for an emergency.
- Avoiding alcohol.
- Utilizing life vests. Don’t depend on floaties and other tubes to support a child.
- Don’t play breath-holding games.
- Fencing in home pools and add safety alarms.
Summer and swimming go hand in hand. Have a wonderful, SAFE summer!