This weekend as we enjoy the last days of summer around the pool, it’s important to keep water safety in mind. Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 14? Additionally, thousands of children are hospitalized each year for nonfatal drowning incidents, many sustaining life-long, profound, permanent brain damage. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water, in as little time as 20 seconds. Those are some pretty scary statistics. Luckily, by practicing proper water safety techniques, these situations can be avoided.
Meg Kevane, water safety expert and owner of Goldfish Swim School in Fort Washington, has some helpful safety tips to consider this weekend:
1) Know that drowning is a “silent killer.” It occurs in a quiet blink, and drowning only takes seconds.
2) Designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, iPads, books, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. After all, most children who drown are supervised. Have the adults switch out every half and hour so no one fatigues.
3) Enroll your kids in swim lessons, if possible as early as four months old, but if the infant years have passed, any age is fine. Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.
4) Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water. Not only will your water fears rub off on your children, but by not knowing how to swim, you are eliminating a person with the ability to save a child’s life.
5) Invest in latches, fences and sensors if you own a pool. Again, drowning only takes a second.
6) Notify a supervisor if a lifeguard is distracted from doing his or her job. That means no chit-chatting, flirting or “quickly” checking texts. Also, say something if a lifeguard sits at a station more than 30 minutes. They need to rotate to stay alert. Doing these things eliminates complacency.
7) Take first-aid and CPR. Every second counts.
8) Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
9) Stay humble around water. Over-confidence can lead to accidents.
Interested in teaching your children about water safety? Find out more about swim lessons on the Goldfish website or by calling 215-220-3828. Connect with Goldfish Swim School Fort Washington on Facebook for the latest news and information.