According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning ranks as the fifth cause of unintentional death in the U.S. Kids between the ages of 1-4 have the highest drowning rate, and 1 in 5 people who die from drowning are children aged 14 and younger. Here are some tips from Jenn Shank, physical therapy assistant at Total Rehab Care on keeping you and your family safe while swimming this summer:
- Always swim in areas that have lifeguards on duty.
- Remember that not all state parks and beaches have lifeguards present.
- Always use the buddy system no matter where you swim. Never allow anyone to swim alone.
- Make sure your child knows how to swim. It may be helpful to enroll your child in age appropriate lessons at your local YMCA or Red Cross.
- Never allow a young child to be by themselves near water.
- Teach a child to always ask permission before going near water.
- If a child is unable to swim, or is not a strong swimmer, have them wear a United States Coast Guard approved life jacket.
- Educate your child about the danger of entrapment if they play around drain covers and suction fittings.
- Even when a lifeguard is present, you should supervise your child, staying within arm’s reach of your child at all times and avoiding distractions.
- Make sure you and your child know how and when to call 911 or the local emergency number.
- Enroll in a first aid and CPR/AED training course to help ensure the safety of you and your family.
- Never consume alcohol when swimming as alcohol decreases your coordination, balance and judgment as well as the body’s ability to stay warm.
- It is important to be cautious when swimming, in any body of water including lakes, rivers, and the ocean. Danger presents itself through waves and rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore.
- While boating, wear a life jacket to ensure safety.
- Inflatable toys should never be used as a flotation device.
- Remember to be especially cautious when your child has a special condition such as a seizure disorder or temporary limitation such as a sprained or strained muscle. The smallest injury can decrease your ability to react in the water.
- Make yourself and your child aware of the pool’s safety rules and make sure to follow them. For example, most pools have rules that prohibit diving in shallow water and running on the pool deck.
Remember – NEVER trust the life of a child to another child. Seconds count when your child’s life is at stake, so utilize these tips to keep your child from drowning.
By: Jenn Shank and Meghan Burket