Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Water Safety is Serious Stuff

A co-worker lost his 18 month old grandson this weekend in an accidental drowning. The boy wandered away for a few moments as the family was loading the car up for a camping trip, and when they went to look for him it was too late. I cannot stress it enough- water safety is serious stuff.

Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of unintentional death for children aged 1 and 14. It is the number one cause of death among young children in California and Florida.

Just being submerged in water without breathing is dangerous. The CDC reports, "For every child 14 years and younger who dies from drowning, 5 receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries."

"Non fatal drownings can cause brain damage that result in long-term disabilities, ranging from memory problems to learning disabilities to permanent loss of basic functioning"

The American Academy of Pediatrics insists that swimming classes are not to be "the primary means of drowning prevention for children younger than 4 years of age. Constant vigilant supervision and barriers such as pool fencing are still necessary even when children have completed classes".

They are making a very strong point. Even if young children are learning to swim they must be supervised. 88% of children who drown were under some sort of supervision according to Safe Kids USA.

Always, always remember:

Never leave a child alone in the bathtub, swimming pool or other body of water deeper than 2 inches.

Install fences and safety latches around pools. Pool covers and special pool alarms add more protection.

Whenever out on the water, be it in a kayak, canoe, boat or other water vehicle always have children wear life jackets at all times. Water wings or toy floats are not proper equipment in this case. Water wings can slip off, devices can deflate or slip out from the child's reach. If you are looking for a good place to buy children's life jackets try Wholesale Marine, good quality and price.

Enroll children in swim classes as soon as they are personally ready. But remember, even if they can swim they still need to be watched carefully! Kids can panic and forget what they learned.

Teach children pool safety pools. Never dive into shallow water (less than 9 ft), serious neck and spinal injuries can occur. Always look before jumping, kids sometimes get overly excited and will jump right on top of another child in the pool.

If you have not had CPR training, and have a pool in your backyard, you may want to consider a refresher. It is a good thing to know how to do and you will feel more confident doing it.

Katie Holmes Cruise with daughter Suri, properly wearing life jackets.

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