Warm weather has officially arrived and the summer season is gearing up. With the heat brings the summer fun. There are pool parties, barbecues, camping, road trips, beach days and so much more warm weather activities. Many kids and adults alike will head outdoors to pools, beaches, lakes and parks, or go hiking, biking or boating with families and friends.
One extremely popular summer activity is swimming. Swimming is a great way to spend the long and hot days but water can be very dangerous. Being in and around water can be a great time but also a scary situation if the right precautions aren’t put into place.
Now is the time to get pumped for some of the best times of the year by reviewing some important tips on summer safety and how to protect children from drowning. Remember, summertime means children are often in closer proximity to water and as a result at risk for injury or possibly death from drowning.
Don’t let the unthinkable happen or wait until it’s too late. Things can change in a moment’s notice and it’s important to stay very aware of children and water. Parents need to stay vigilant and prepared because they often have the tools to keep their children safe.
The reality is that the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest of the year for children and youths. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. It is the second leading cause of death for children in the US under the age of 14. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
If you have or know a child that has been a victim of an injury, please contact the highly skilled personal injury attorneys and staff at Schulze Law. We are equipped and prepared to handle the individuality of each and every personal injury case we represent and offer compassionate, clear counseling and assistance. Accidents and injuries suffered during the summer months can be serious and complex. This includes drowning. Our team can help you and your children receive help when you need it most.
Summer is synonymous with water activities and sports. Beaches, pools, rivers, reservoirs, and lakes are all popular summertime spots and hangouts. We’re taking a look at The Top Drowning Safety Tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this summer season. We want to educate on how quickly and easily drowning can happen, how preventable it can be and how unfortunately it can be easy to miss.
- Learn to swim like a fish!
Enroll your children in age appropriate swim classes. There are classes designed for ages 6 months all the way up to adulthood. Swim lessons can help set the stage for safety by equipping your child with the technique, knowledge and confidence to navigate the water. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children age 4 and older can learn to swim. Children ages 1 to 4 might be able to learn depending on their physical and emotional development. Learning the basics of swimming can be life saving and to teach children that swimming in an open water is different from swimming in a pool.
- Have an emergency plan!
Make sure everyone in and around you knows how to respond in the wake of an emergency situation. This includes having the appropriate safety equipment available, taking those swim classes we discussed as well as First Aid and CPR courses. CPR can literally save a life. CPR classes are available through many hospitals, community centers, or by contacting the American Red Cross at at 1-800-RED-CROSS or firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
- Get the swimming safety on lock
According to the CDC, the lack of safety equipment is blamed for over 75% of swimming pool deaths! Get these safety measures put in place and accessories easily accessible:
*Some of these safety measures will be expanded on below.
- Install an effective pool barrier and alarms
- Use swimming pool enclosures
- Install a fence
- Bust out the winter safety covers (when in season)
- First Aid Kit fun
- Life Jackets
- Spine Board
- Life hook
- Swimming safety ring
Never leave children unattended near water or if there is any possible chance they can access water. Always be on the lookout because drowning can happen quickly and quietly. Designate an official Water Watcher! This means an adult is given the sole task of supervising the children with zero distractions. They shouldn’t be reading, texting, on social media or playing games on their phone. Children under age 4 should be supervised at arm’s length, even if they can swim. Please don’t rely on air-filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles or inner tubes, to keep children safe. Keep an eye on the safety prize.
- Keep out!
Fence it in! Fences can keep out the little ones who wander or roam safe from making it near water. Install a fence at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall that separates the pool area from the house and yard. The fence shouldn’t block the view of the pool from outside the fenced area. Avoid fences that children can easily climb. Install self-closing and self-latching gates that open away from the pool area with latches beyond a child’s reach.
- Life Jackets
Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water but do not rely on life jackets alone.
The U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center provides a full list of guidelines and recommendations for choosing a safe life jacket. Some things to know:
- Make sure it meets safety standards
- Choose the size based on your kid’s current weight
- Go bright
- Get all the right features
- Put life jackets on, not just near your child
- Don’t use life jackets as cushions or toys
- Test it out
- Remove toy temptations!
Keep areas clear of tempting toys and fun when not in use and supervised by a focused adult. Toys can lure children to be near the pool or use the pool when unsupervised. Don’t let a toy cause a tragic situation.
- Set safety rules!
Make sure the entire family is on board with swimming safety rules. Establish the rules, teach the rules and follow the rules. Here are some examples from FamilyEducation.com:
- Teach your child never to swim anywhere alone.
- Don’t let kids push or jump on top of someone else in or near water.
- Walk, don’t run, near pools or docks.
- Your child should never dive into water unless permitted by an adult who knows how deep the water is.
- Going down a pool slide head first is a no-no.
- At the first sign of thunder or lightening, everyone should leave the water.
- Warn your kids not to pretend to be drowning.
- Stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings, etc.
- Inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep.
- Don’t drink and supervise!
Alcohol and water are never a good combination from both a swimming perspective and supervising perspective. Swimming and navigating water requires clear thinking, coordination, and the ability to judge distance, depth, speed, and direction. Alcohol impairs all of these skills. People who are supervising other swimmers should not be using alcohol or drugs due to impairment. Stay on top of your swim supervision game.
- Educate yourself on dry and secondary drowning
Know what to look for. Dry drowning happens when water causes a spasm in the airway. The airway then closes up and affects breathing. Secondary or delayed drowning can happen when water gets into the lungs and builds up over time. After a swim, keep an eye out for changes in your child’s behavior and call your doctor or 911 immediately if you notice the following symptoms: trouble breathing, coughing, fatigue, irritability, chest pain or vomiting.
There are endless ways to stay aware when it comes to swimming safety. Drowning is a very real, present, and terrible danger. Sadly, it is often very preventable. Please keep the above tips in mind.
Drowning is swift and silent and it can happen in less than a minute. Kids can drown in just a few inches of water and it happens quickly and silently. It’s scary to read what happens during a drowning but scarier not to understand what happens in order to prevent it from happening. According to Float4life.org, here is the sequence of events during submersion while swimming:
- Contrary to popular opinion, the victim does not wave or call for help. Breathing instinctively takes precedence.
- Sometimes the victim obtains an upright posture, with their arms extended laterally, thrashing and slapping the water. When this happens it is often mistaken for playing and splashing in the water.
- Next the head submerges and surfaces several times during the victim’s struggle for air. In children this can last for up to 10 seconds. An adult may be able to struggle for up to 60 seconds.
- Inhalation is prevented only by the involuntary closure of the glottis. Soon after, involuntary gasping occurs for several minutes.
- At this point there is swallowing of large amounts of water into the stomach.
- Consciousness is lost within 3 minutes. Water is now able to passively enter the lungs.
- Finally, cardiac arrythmias, convulsions, spasmodic efforts, and death occur.
Know what to look for and know how to prevent drowning. It can truly save a life.
All that said…summer is a blast. There are so many ways to enjoy this special season, but it can also become a very dangerous time of year when things are not done safely and correctly or the proper precautions are in place. If your child has been injured in an accident, discuss your situation with the experienced team at Schulze Law. We understand the intricacies of personal injury law, and we have the experience, expertise and resources to help our clients.
Happy summer and safe swimming!