Back in October, I wrote a post about the importance of water safety for infants and toddlers. (Click here to read that post.) In wake of another drowning, I want to reiterate the importance of taking the best safety measures we can to prevent another tragedy.
Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has for years discourage swim lessons for children age 4 and younger. But this morning, they have changed their stance. According to their news release:
“New evidence shows that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. … The new guidance recommends that parents should decide whether to enroll an individual child in swim lessons based on the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional development, physical abilities, and certain health concerns related to pool water infections and pool chemicals.”
You can read the entire news release by clicking here.
You can also watch a segment from the “Today” show that features different ways kids learn to swim and about the Infant Swimming Resource program that is available here in Oklahoma. To watch the “Today” show May 24 clip, click here.
As the Memorial Day long weekend approaches, now is the time to get your child familiar with the water and the ways to survive if he or she were to fall in.
And remember, nothing can replace a watchful and attentive parent or guardian. Don’t take your eyes off your children for a moment if there’s water nearby. Be sure your pool has the proper fencing/barriers to prevent your child from getting to the water unattended.
For everything water safety, go the AAP website: http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/watersafety.cfm.
Have a fun, but SAFE summer.
We hear about it too much, it seems. A baby or toddler drowning. Many times in the care of responsible parents. It’s the leading cause of unintentional death for children.
I’ve written posts for Hiccups before on the importance of water safety, but in light of another recent drowning, I’d like to share my personal experience with a program my 3-year-old son is in.
Infant Swimming Resource is a program I found after a user on NewsOK.com posted a comment on a story about a baby drowning a couple of months ago. Her comment was, “If the family only knew about ISR.” That comment prompted me to look into this program.
I went to their Web site, www.infantswim.com, and watched the videos and read about parents’ experiences with the program. I have to say, I was instantly impressed. (Click below to see the video.)
These babies and toddlers weren’t just swimming, they were performing self-rescue skills. I found an instructor in the Oklahoma City-area using the online locator and got him started in the lessons.
I’ve had my son in swimming lessons before, but have been very disappointed with the results. He was only swimming with a floatie on or by using a noodle and these give children, and their parents, a false sense of security. Children don’t fall into pools with floaties on. If they did, no child would drown.
What ISR does is look at all aspects of a child. The program uses many fields of study in their approach – psychology, biology, physiology and anatomy. And most children go through the program and are skilled in self-rescue swimming in only 4-6 weeks.
When my son started, he had never even been put underwater. He never floated on his own. He was terrified of going underwater. Now he is in his last week in the program. He can swim underwater, turn to float to get his breath then continue swimming to the side of the pool. Without the aid of any flotation device. If you knew my son, you would know this is truly impressive.
The lessons are one-on-one with a highly trained instructor. Because repetition is key, they are every weekday for the full 4-6 weeks. To prevent water fatigue, the lessons are only 10 minutes long.
I urge every parent to check out this program. I am truly impressed with what my son has learned and with the professionalism and knowledge of the instructors. It’s a small price to pay and small amount of time to spend on preventing the senseless tragedy of losing a child to drowning.
*Summer can be a time of fun, sun and relaxation but it’s also a season with it’s own dangers. In an effort to bring summer safety awareness to the forefront, I will be writing a weekly series of summer safety topics, starting with last week’s post about the importance of protecting children’s eyes from the sun.
The weather is warming up and that means more children will be playing outside, and at one point or another, that means near or in a pool, pond or lake.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list drowning as the second-leading cause of unintentional death among children age 1 to 14. Children age 1-3 are at the greatest risk. 90% of drownings occur in residential swimming pools and retention ponds near the home. Most were last seen in the home and had been out of sight for less than 5 minutes. The majority were in the care of one or both parents at the time and were not the result of parental negligence.
Startling statistics, but one thing really stands out to me: The majority were not the result of parental negligence. So that means it can happen to you, to me, to our friends and family. Most of us aren’t negligent parents. We want to protect our children and we always have the best intentions. But looking at these statistics, drownings happen under the care of the most responsible parents, in the smallest amount of time, which is why this is such an important topic.
Steps to prevent drownings include:
1. Barriers. Pool fencing can help prevent children from gaining access to the pool area. Back yard ponds can also be fenced in or a mesh cover can be used to cover them. Install a four-sided fence that completely separates the pool or pond from the house and play area of the yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet tall. Use self-latching gates that open outward, with latches out of children’s reach.
2. Life jackets. Whether swimming in a pool or at the lake, life jackets are a must. According to the CDC, in 2006 9 out of 10 who drowned in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. DO NOT use air-filled pool toys as a means for floatation or in place of life jackets. These are toys, not life-saving devices.
3. Watch. Designate an adult to watch a child in the bathtub, swimming in or playing near any pool or body of water. Remember, a drowning can happen in less time than it takes to answer the phone. The designated adult should not be involved in any other activity than watching the child(ren). That means no mowing the lawn, reading or talking on the phone while having the child(ren) in your care.
4. Learn CPR. You are the first responder should a child start drowning. In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, you can have already saved your child’s life. The American Red Cross has classes in the metro area year-round.
5. Learn to swim. Take heed, however, that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend this as a primary means of drowning prevention for children younger than 4. Classes can be taken at the local YMCA, or check your city’s community centers for class offerings.
6. Swim with a buddy. Make sure older children never swim alone. Using city pools or parks with lifeguards is also a way to enjoy pool activities with an extra layer of safety.
Let’s keep our children from becoming a tragic statistic this summer. It’s worth the extra effort to keep them safe so they can enjoy many summers to come.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor