As the weather starts to warm up, most children (especially my boys) are excited and cannot wait to jump in the pools on a hot day. It is important for parents and caregivers to prevent drowning and avoid water risks around young children. Most people are not aware that drowning is the leading cause of injury related death in children younger than 20 years of age. Because of the commonality of child drowning, the American academy of pediatrics collaborated with families that have lost children to drowning, and created new recommendations for parents to help prevent this terrible result in their families.
- Swimming lesson starting at 1 year old: This recommendation helps children to be aware of the water and the caution that comes with it. Children will develop techniques such as breathing above water, strokes, and water safety.
- Physical barriers placed around pool: This recommendation is when there is no direct supervision to the child around water. Barriers such as a fence around a pool at least 4 feet height with self-closing and self- latching gates will prevent water entry when not wanted. Pool alarms are also available for added extra protection.
- Appropriated life jacket fit: For children of all ages that do not know how to swim, it is strongly recommended to have a life jacket on the child at all times near any standing water. For children that do know how to swim, life jackets are recommended for any open or large body of water.
As a community we can work together to prevent risk of possible drowning. If we educate families to prevent drowning and have more access to swimming lessons, consistent attention around water, barriers for unsafe pools areas, and appropriate fitted safety equipment then the result will be no child deaths from drowning and a fun safe summer.