Summer is in full swing, which means more time in the sun, at the beach and by the pool. But with summer fun comes a load of different responsibility, particularly when it comes to keeping kids safe in and around the water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accidental drowning is the number one cause of death among children ages 1-4. It takes only seconds for an unattended child to drown. And what’s worse is that it’s 100 percent preventable.
Water-safety experts have a solution to keeping kids safe while also soaking up the sun this summer, and it could just mean the difference between life and death for your kiddos.
The key is to assign a designated water watcher — an adult who stands alert, near or in the pool, free from distractions, and aware of each child they’re responsible for.
“We don’t realize how quickly these things can go from just a fun pool party to an incident where somebody needs help,” Josh Rowland, aquatics product manager at the American Red Cross, told Good Morning America.
A common misconception is that drowning is loud and causes a scene. We see movies where a child is splashing and coughing, screaming and wheezing due to slipping under the water. But the fact of the matter is, this simply is not the case.
Drowning tends to be a silent killer. Children often drown without a sound.
All too often when there are several adults around, everyone assumes someone else is watching the kids. Without a designated water watcher, it doesn’t matter how many adults are nearby, children are in danger.
Experts recommend the designated water watcher be at least 16 years of age and able to physically identify and rescue a person in distress. CPR skills are a must, and it’s important that they not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The water watcher should be rotated every 15 minutes, with a new person taking on the job to avoid losing focus.
If you can’t find your child, the pool should be the first place to look.
Other Water Safety Tips:
- Swim Lessons Save Lives
- Learn CPR – Drowning patients need oxygen – give air first!
- USCG approved lifejackets only – no arm floaties or inflatables
- Designate A Water Watcher / Swim with a Lifeguard
- Always use pool barriers and layers of protection
- Enter the water feet first
- No running
- Stay hydrated / protect yourself from the sun
- No drugs / alcohol
- All water is dangerous – even inches
- Always swim with a buddy
- Lost / Missing kids – always check the water first
Drowning is 100 percent preventable. Implementing a designated water watcher system at your next pool gathering could wind up saving a life.