Summer is here, sunshine is out, and the heat draws us all to the water! We are blessed to live in an area that boasts many local pools, short drives to Big Bear and Arrowhead lakes, and most importantly easy access to the beach. Being at the water is not only a wonderful way to cool off, but a great opportunity for exercise, family bonding, and relaxation. Though the water is inviting, it can also be dangerous.
Drowning is often referred to as “the silent killer.” This derives from the fact that there is not a guarantee of splashing, calling for help, or noise of any sort. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning ranks as the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the United States for people of all ages, and children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. When drowning is not fatal, it can still lead to irreversible brain damage causing learning and behavioral disabilities.1
Though these statistics can be frightening, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your children. California offers this helpful acronym: SILENT2
Swimming lessons. Even children as young as 8 months old can begin swim safety classes. These typically teach how to roll onto their back to float, how to kick in the water, and how to hold their breath. Swim classes for all ages are available through local community centers, the YMCA, the American Red Cross, and other family agencies.
Install alarms on doors and windows that lead to a pool area.
Layers of protection include adult supervision, 5 foot feces with locking self-locking gates, safety pool covers, and throwing aids in the pool area.
Eye. Adults should keep a constant eye on children in or near any water including bathtubs, buckets, toilets, ponds, spas, lakes, oceans, and pools.
Never leave a child alone near the water! Check the pool first if a child is missing.
Touch. Designate an adult to be close enough to reach out and touch any child under 4 year old while being supervised in the water.
Everyone should have the opportunity to be in and near water without fear. Providing swimming lessons early in life will empower your children to confident around water no matter where they go in life.
The water offers many joys in life, so I encourage you to dive into all the fun the water has to offer, but take the time now to teach your child the water safety to ensure everyone is safe in the water.
- CDC references: https://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html
- California Department of Developmental Services: http://www.dds.ca.gov/drowning/