The sun’s rays beat gently against your cheeks; a cooling breeze catches your cap’s visor as the sound of children splashing in the water seems to ring with a hypnotic beat. It’s Saturday and you’re relaxing at the beach with your family, something you’ve been looking forward to all summer.
But you’re a cop. There are dangers everywhere, including in the water. You wonder to yourself if there are sharks in the area … A shark attack in California is extremely rare (6 incidents and 2 fatalities in about three years). The risk of drowning or near-drowning is far greater.
There are an average of 10 deaths per day in the U.S. due to drowning, 2 of which are children under the age of 14.
Over the summer, pools, beaches, lakes, ponds, and rivers can be fun; drowning or other water-related injuries may not always be the first thing on our mind. The image of a family member gasping for air is far more realistic than a shark attack.
You may not think 2 inches of water can be deadly, but that is all it takes for young children to drown in a bathtub, a bucket or on top of a pool cover. In a matter of seconds, drowning or near-drowning can occur.
Non-fatal drowning can cause brain damage that includes memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functions. Children ages 1-4-years are the greatest risk for drowning and boys are at a higher risk than girls at all ages. Be aware when answering your phone, responding to text messages or emails, or going to the kitchen to grab something. Never leave children or adults who can’t swim alone near or in the water.
In time it takes for you to grab a soda in the kitchen and return, as your attention is diverted, your child could drown.
Don’t fool yourself into believing you’ll HEAR a child in distress, as they start to drown. Most children do not yell for help, they can’t as they can submerge very quickly. Furthermore, even experienced adult swimmers may not call for help if they are drowning.
Here some points you may need to address in with your family.
- Does every family member know how to swim?
- Are all adults current in their CPR training? Do you know how to administer it to infants and children?
- If you boat or enjoy the waterways, does everyone don a life-vest?
- Are children and adults always partnered up when swimming or engaging in water activities?
Remember, it only takes a few seconds to drown and it can happen to anyone.
Check out these organizations for more information on water safety and many, many other kid topics.