With summertime upon us, more people (adults and children) are swimming in all types of water—pools, lakes, and the ocean. Unfortunately, the summer fun can end quickly if someone gets hurt.
Unfortunately, drowning is common, but it’s also preventable. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 1,000 children die each year from drowning in the U.S. And those children that survive a near drowning can be left with brain damage and long-term disabilities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following information and tips that can help you and yours keep children safe from drowning:
Children 0 through 4 years of age, as well as teenage boys, are at highest risk for drowning.
In fact,young children are most likely to drown in the bathtub or after an accidental fall into the water.
Teen boys tend to be bigger risk-takers than smaller kids and girls, and they often are overconfident about their swimming abilities.
Put your child in swimming lessons. Studies show that swimming lessons for children under the age of 4 years can greatly decrease their risk for drowning. (One caveat, however, to keep in mind: Children who know how to swim do still drown. Swimming lessons are not a substitute for a child’s need for constant adult supervision.)
Fence your pool. Self-closing, self-locking gates with a fence on all sides are recommended. The fence and gates should be a minimum of four feet tall.
If your house opens up to the pool, install an alarm system to alert you when someone opens the door.
Make sure secure drain covers are in place. Improperly sealed drains can suck a child into the drain current so that the child gets stuck underwater on the bottom of the pool.
Clear the pool area of toys when the pool is not in use. Toys left lying around or in the pool may look appealing and encourage a child to try to get to the pool.
Supervise constantly. Don’t turn your back to talk to the mail carrier or answer the phone. If you are with other adults, never assume that someone else is watching the kids. Drowning is quick and quiet. By the time you realize something is wrong, the damage may be done. Don’t take that chance!