According to statistics gathered by the CDC, 3,533 fatal unintentional drowning occur each year in the United States. That means that every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, an average of two each day are children under the age of 14. Though kids and swimming pools go hand in hand over the long, hot Alabama summer, parents should be on alert whenever their young children are around water.
Though adults can drown too, young children are at a special risk of accidental drowning. Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest rate of drowning and among young children, most drowning occurs in home swimming pools.
Beyond death due to drowning, another terrifying prospect is the risk of permanent injury. Debilitating conditions due to brain injury and lax of oxygen can leave a child permanently damaged. According to data, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency room care for nonfatal water-related injuries.
According to the CDC, the main factors that affect drowning risk are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of close supervision while swimming, location, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use, and seizure disorders. To avoid any chance of harm coming to your children or the children of other, parents should consider the following tips:
- Supervise Your Kids When Around Water – Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while children are swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision,” being close enough to reach the child at all times in case of emergency. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity while they are supervising young children.
- Learn to Swim – Teaching yourself and your children to swim through formal swimming lessons can offer additional protection to young children from drowning. Even if your kids have had lessons, careful supervision is still required when young kids are around water.
- Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
If you own a swimming pool then there are additional precautions you should take to ensure that everyone leaves your summer pool party safe and sound.
- Install Four-Sided Fencing – Install a four-sided pool fence that completely separates the pool area from the house and yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children.
- Clear the Pool and Deck of Toys – Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.
- Consider Alarms – Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water and consider using a surface wave or underwater alarms. The cost is usual minimal when compared to the potential for tragedy.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a water-related accident and have questions, call the experienced Huntsville personal injury attorneys at Martinson & Beason, PC for a free consultation today.
Source: “Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts,” published at CDC.gov.