A shocking number of children drown each year–approximately 11,000 children in the U.S. die due to drowning. At least 1,000 of those deaths occur to little ones between infancy and 5.
Water safety practitioners encourage parents to:
- Supervise children at all times when they are in, around, or even near water.
This doesn’t just mean when they are in a boat, by the lake, at the fish pond, by a brook or creek, at the beach or at poolside, it means any time. Any time there is standing water in a bathtub, in a wading pool, in a bucket or a 1″ deep puddle, there is the danger of drowning. Little ones especially are attracted to water and are not able to judge its depth, nor do they always have the physical ability to extricate themselves, once in it.
- Swimming lessons are a great start to a safe summer, but simply knowing how to swim doesn’t mean your child can’t get into difficulty. Provide and make sure your children wear flotation devices if they need them and you go in deep water (whether at the pool, river, lake or beach) with your kids.
In my youth, we spent time at a lake in the summer. I got in trouble more than once–thankfully, I survived. Once, however, I dove into the water from an unsteady canoe, came up and hit my head on the bottom of the canoe. Yes, I could swim, but because I was almost knocked out, I drank a lot of the lake! If my older sibling hadn’t been along for the trip, I could have been a drowning statistic, which brings up another tip:
- Never allow your child to go to or in the water alone. Go with them or make sure a caregiver, an able swimmer, or an older buddy goes with them.
- If you take your child to the pool or the lake to swim, it’s time for you to learn Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
Administering CPR to an infant or a child is different than administering CPR to an adult, so it’s important to know the difference. You can check with your local rescue squad, fire department or your local chapter of the American Red Cross to learn if they are offering a CPR course near you this summer. The courses are not expensive; some are free providing they have attendees.
- If you are hiring caregivers and babysitters, ask those you interview if they know CPR (and are certified to perform it) before you hire them.
If supervision of children were more thorough and parents, family members, caregivers and babysitters knew how to administer CPR, there would be more hopeful statistics to post here. There is nothing worse than watching a capable EMT administer CPR to a child who has fallen in the water and cannot respond.
All of us at ChildSafetyBlog.org are wishing you a safe and enjoyable summer!