Summer Water Safety
It's summer time! Where do we all want to be on a hot, sunny day but in the water? Children especially love the water this time of year. Adults are responsible for the safety of children. The National Safe Kids Coalition reports that 16% of all deaths in children under the age of 14 are from drowning. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional deaths for this age group. During the year 2000, nine hundred forty-three children ages 14 and under died from drowning.
Why is drowning so prominent in this age category? We know that typically most drowning deaths in children are due to children being unattended for even a short moment of time. It takes less than two minutes for a child to lose consciousness. This is approximately the same amount of time it takes you to answer the phone. Drowning is a "silent event" and even though you may believe you will hear your child or a child in distress that is not true in the case of drowning.
Here are some tips that you can apply during visits to the swimming pool or on that summer outing and spending time around water with your kids.
- Never leave children alone in or near water.
- Never rely on a personal flotation device or swimming lessons to protect a child.
- Empty or turn over wading pools, buckets or similar containers immediately after use.
- Learn CPR and keep rescue equipment, and emergency numbers readily available.
- Enroll children in swimming classes by a qualified instructor.
- Enclose your pool or spa with a four-sided fencing at least 5 feet high with self-closing or self-latching gates.
- Pay attention to the water itself. Be aware of undercurrents and the changing nature of the lake or ocean where you swim.
Reprinted with the permission of the University of Missouri. © 2008 — Curators of the University of Missouri
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