According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the USA Swimming Foundation, at least 163 children under the age of 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas during the summer of 2017. In Texas alone, there were 14 fatal drownings.
Despite numerous prevention methods, drowning has become the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States for children between 1 and 14 years old. Keep your children safe near the pool by following these swimming safety tips.
- Maintain Active Supervision
Children should never swim unsupervised no matter where they are. Accidental drowning can happen within a matter of seconds. A good general rule is maintaining “touch supervision” by keeping your child within your reach while they are swimming – even when lifeguards are present.
Be diligent in avoiding distractions while children are anywhere near or in the water. Any adult in charge of supervising children should never consume alcohol while doing so.
- Don’t Rely on Swimming Aids
You should not use pool floaties or inflatable water wings in lieu of a life jacket and active adult supervision. While these toys are fun for children, they are not reliable enough to use as safety equipment.
- Learn CPR
Nearly every community offers CPR training programs for all ages. Often, local hospitals and fire and recreational departments offer these trainings for free. In today’s hectic world, taking the time to learn these skills can easily be pushed to the back burner, but the knowledge will better equip you to protect others around water.
- Educate Your Kids About Safe Swimming
Enroll your family members in age-appropriate swimming lessons each summer to help them improve their water safety knowledge and swimming abilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research has shown that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce a child’s risk of drowning.
Ensure your child has learned the five most important water survival skills, which include:
- Returning to the surface after fully immersing themselves in the water
- Floating or treading water for one minute
- Turning in a full circle and finding an exit
- Swimming 25 yards to exit the water
- Exiting the pool without using the ladder
Do not allow your children to swim in open waters until they have become strong swimmers. Swimming in lakes or oceans is not the same as swimming in a pool. Remind them that when in open water, they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
- Use the Buddy System
Encouraging your child to swim with a buddy is an excellent drowning prevention method because it ensures that an extra set of eyes are on them. Never trust young children to take care of each other in water, though – adult supervision is still paramount in these situations.
- Prevent Unsupervised Pool Access
Barriers such as pool fences play a significant role in preventing children from accessing the pool area without adult supervision. The ideal fence should be at least 4 feet tall, feature a self-closing gate and hover no more than 4 inches above the ground.
Removing pool toys from the deck will also reduce the likelihood that children will try to gain access to the pool while not under supervision.
- Avoid Diving Headfirst
Discourage your children from diving headfirst into shallow, murky or unknown waters. Doing so can lead to life-threatening injuries or drowning. The underwater environment of every lake, ocean or pond is different, so if you are unfamiliar with the water, play it safe by entering feet first.
Water Safety Tips for Adults
Unintentional drowning deaths aren’t exclusive to children. While the previously mentioned tips can help adults as well, there is still more they can do, like:
- Avoiding alcohol when swimming, as it impairs judgement and motor functions
- Having a phone handy in case of emergency
- Keeping a safety kit nearby
- Staying away from pool drains
- Never swimming in polluted water
Emergency Drowning Treatment at Complete Care
With convenient locations in Colorado Springs and throughout Texas, Complete Care is there with emergency medical services when you need them. We don’t have the notoriously long wait times of hospital-based ERs. Your emergency becomes our emergency the moment you walk through the door.
Our medical professionals are ready to provide you and your family with the highest quality care possible. Locate the Complete Care nearest you by visiting us online today!