Preventing Swimming Disasters
Many children love to cool off on a hot summer day in a swimming pool. Did you know that swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States? Swimming is an ideal way for children and adults to stay physically active, and just two and a half hours of swimming per week can decrease the risk of chronic illness. When we are enjoying our time in the pool or beach we aren't really thinking about all the risk involved.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drownings are a leading cause of injuring death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. Many of us can recall in the news when Olympic star Bode Miller and his wife, professional volleyball player, Morgan Beck had to face their devastating loss of 19-month old daughter drowning in their neighbor's swimming pool. My point is that it can happen to anyone. I remember watching an interview with the Miller family after the loss of their child and how they were emphasizing the importance of water safety and awareness. In Morgan's interview in 2018 on the Today Show, she states, "A child under 30 pounds can drown in 30 seconds".
Here are a few tips to remember and keep in mind before and while children are around pools, lakes, and beaches.
• Everyone should know the basics of swimming which includes: floating, moving through the water and (CPR) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.
• Make life jackets a must. Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties".
• Have children ask permission prior to going near the water.
• Make sure your pool is fenced in on all four sides. It is encouraged that pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool. Make sure there is a self-closing or self-locking gate.
• Be on the lookout. Closely supervise children at all times while they are near the water.
• Adults need to avoid distracting activities while children are in the pool.
• Use a secure pool cover when the pool is not in use.
• Door alarms: some people recommend placing an alarm that sounds when the pool door is opened.
• Install anti-entrapment drain covers. Pay attention to pool drains for individuals have gotten caught in them.
• Electrical issues can be detrimental.
According the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning death by 88%". However, it is a known fact that injuries can happen even when someone is a skilled swimmer.
Again, swimming is and should be a part of summer-time fun so, just make sure you are mindful about all the safety measures we should take as parents, neighbors, and friends.