Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death in children ages between 1 to 4. Adolescents, ages between 15 to 19 year olds have the second-highest fatal drowning rate of any age group. The very good news here is that such tragedies are often preventable but the question now is how can you protect those most prone to drowning such as children?
WHAT IS DROWNING?
Drowning is defined as respiratory impairment as a result of being in or under a liquid especially water. Drowning typically occurs silently with only a few people able to wave their hands or call for help. Symptoms following rescue may include breathing problems, vomiting, confusion or unconsciousness.
SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN OR INFANTS
BE AWARE OF THE DANGERS: Infants can drown in as little as one to two inches of water. Bath tubs, pools, toilets, buckets of water, drainage ditches and natural bodies of water, all of these can claim the lives of babies who are too young to be able to lift their heads above water. Always be aware of where the dangers are.
REDUCE THE DANGERS: Empty containers that hold water, such as buckets, ice coolers or wading pools when they are not in use. Keep the toilet lid closed.
FENCE IT OFF: Research shows that over half of all swimming pools drowning of young children could be prevented by fencing. The fence should be at least 4 feet high with slats no more than 4 inches wide, completely surround the pool and have a self-closing and self-latching gate.
ALWAYS SUPERVISE: Never leave your baby alone, even for a moment, when they are in the bathtub or near other water dangers. Never leave children unsupervised when near bodies of water and do not allow yourself to get distracted. Drowning happens silently and quickly.
SWIM LESSONS: Most children are ready for swim lessons by age 4. Swim lessons significantly decrease the risk of drowning. There are many local options for lessons and several school programs too. Check around to see which programs are convenient and priced well for your family.
LIFE JACKETS: Floaties do not replace life jackets. Ensure the life jacket is sized properly for your child.
SAFETY TIPS FOR ADOLESCENTS
SWIM LESSONS: Ensure your teen knows how to swim like earlier mentioned. If they haven’t learned before, this period would be a great time to start.
ALWAYS SUPERVISE: It may be tempting to leave teenagers alone at the pool, but they are prone to over-estimating their own abilities and under-estimating risks. Adult supervision is still required to ensure safe water behavior.
WEAR LIFE JACKETS: This applies to adults as well. A boat might capsize. A storm might pop up. Life jackets will help a teen or adult float in dangerous situations.
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS DANGER: Discuss with your teen the dangers of mixing alcohol and drugs with water recreation. Judgment, skills and coordination, all decrease when consuming these substances.
THE CAUSES OF DROWNING
The causes of drowning are accidental and usually preventable. The accident often occurs within a short distance of safety like in a bathtub or close to shore. Other factors that contribute to drowning may include alcohol, trauma such as injuries from diving into shallow water, and others.