Parents: Make Sure Your Child is Water Safe
Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among children ages 1-9
By: Wolfson Children's Hospital
Every year many children are treated for drowning. Many survive, but some do not, or are left with permanent damage because they were under water for too long before being rescued. Statistics from the State of Florida show drowning is the No. 1 leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in children ages 1 through 9.
Water recreation increases the danger of drowning. The best defense is educating parents and the community about water safety. There are many methods of water safety, and they work best when they are used together.
"If there is one message we want to make sure parents hear, it is to always know where your child is. When they are young, this requires real vigilance, but the results of not being careful are devastating and too great a risk," said Cynthia Dennis, RN, coordinator of Injury Prevention for THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children's Hospital.
Parents and caregivers of all children must make sure multiple layers of protection are used consistently to protect children from potential dangers inherent in water. Here are ways to safeguard children when they are around a pool or natural bodies of water:
Never leave children unattended around the water. Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Keep young children within arm's reach of an adult.
Learn CPR. Families of young children and all pool owners should become trained in the special skills of CPR needed for infants and children. Know what to do in an emergency. Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a life.
Keep your kids in year-round swimming lessons. It is important for children to have continuous reinforcement of their swimming skills to keep them safe. Experts on child safety say the time passing between seasonal swimming lessons can cause children's swimming skills to regress, meaning they must refresh those skills before they can build new ones.
Install barriers. If you have a pool, spa, or pond nearby, install several barriers to prevent children, especially babies and toddlers, from wandering out to the water without an adult. Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates. Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and kiddie pools immediately after use. Store them upside down so they don't collect water.
Swimming and water recreation should be lots of fun but safety must be taken seriously. Too often, people think it will never happen to them and let their guard down because they didn't know better. No parent should ever have to endure the preventable loss of a child to drowning.
Wolfson Children's Specialty Center – Lake City serves children in Columbia and surrounding counties, enhancing access to the specialists and services of Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Opened in June 2011 and staffed by our partners in pediatric health care, Nemours Children's Specialty Care, Jacksonville, and the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville, Wolfson Children's Specialty Center – Lake City provides outpatient pediatric subspecialty care in cardiology, pediatric rehabilitation, physical medicine and rehabilitation/