Drowning Prevention 101

Summertime is in full effect, which mean trips to the beach or pool are around the corner. With that comes excitement, but also potential fear for most parents. Drowning is the #1 accidental cause of death in children ages 1-4. The good news is, it can be preventable. Here are some ways to keep your little one safe this summer.

 

Prevention

Swim Lessons – No you don’t need to be aiming for Michael Phelps level of skill, but learning the basics is important. Free or reduced swim lessons are available at your local YMCA, Red Cross, USA Swimming Chapter, or other recreational departments. Though children who take swim lessons are 88% less likely to drown, it’s important to note that knowing how to swim does not make you drown-proof.

 

Eyes like a Hawk – This one sounds like a no brainer, but we’ll share anyways. Always watch your child when they are near water, even if a lifeguard is present! Drowning can happen in a matter of seconds (even in the time is takes to send a text). In addition, most drowning incidents are silent with no splashing or loud sounds to bring back your focus, which is why it’s so important to keep your eyes glued at all times.

 

Know CPR – Knowing CPR isn’t just something you learn for fun in middle school. Knowing CPR can make the difference between a life or death situation. It’s important to know it as parent with a young child. CPR classes are available at many health centers, hospitals and Red Cross centers.

 

Float your Boat – Whether it’s a vest or arm floaties, flotation devices are great for keeping your little one safe. They come in fun styles and patterns too, so you can turn wearing them into a fun fashion statement!

 

Places matter too…

Unfortunately, the summertime isn’t the only time drowning can occur. According to Red Cross, bathtubs are the second leading location of drowning, followed by buckets, bath seats, and even toilets among others. Take safety steps such as securing your pool with barriers and installing anti-entrapment drain covers. 69% of children who drown we’re not expected to be near water. If you notice your child is missing, check the pool first!

 

If you’re at a lake, always enter feet first in shallow water and always watch out for waves or currents (they don’t just exist in the ocean!) When it’s time for a beach trip, swim in a designated area with a lifeguard present, avoid areas with rough currents and always stay with your little one when it’s time for a dip.

 

How to Spot

Like choking, drowning typically occurs quietly. Silence is a key sign, as they will be focused on trying to breath rather than scream. If their head is tiled back, it’s an instinctive attempt to keep their airways clear. Their arms may also be moving downward, in an attempt to try to push themselves up. If they’re face downwards or jump and don’t come back up to the surface (also known as ‘plunge-downers’), those are concerning signs to take action on ASAP. Do not think they are faking floating for one second. Take notice of your child, are they clinging to the wall or pool line? This may mean they are getting too tired to swim. If someone is attempting to move unsuccessfully this could mean trouble too. Stay alert and be ready to spring into action if you notice any of these signs.

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